S-1344-Thanksgiving Day 2012 Hymns: #36; #134; (L.S. #568; #573); #574
Texts: Deuteronomy 8:10-20; 1 Timothy 2:1-8; Luke 17:11‑19
Theme: “It’s Not Like That” (Deut. 8:10‑11)
Question: “How Thankful Are You?” Armour, SD
EVERY PERSON WILL GET A PAPER SACK AS THEY COME TO CHURCH.
Blessed Thanksgiving Day to you in the name of Christ who is arisen from the grave. The text for our meditation is from the O.T. Lesson: “And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord Your God for the good land He has given you. Take care lest you forget the Lord Your God by not keeping His commandments and His rules and His statutes, which I command you today” (Deut. 8:10‑11).
Beloved in the Lord consider this scene: “Your wife has been in the hospital for 3 weeks battling cancer. The doctor’s, nurses and others have cared for her around the clock and now she gets to come home cancer free.” How do you feel? You are grateful and thankful and you make sure you tell them that. You go out of your way to let them know you appreciated all that they have done for your wife.
On this Thanksgiving Day, we, along with Christians all over the USA, pause from our busy schedules to give thanks to the Lord, not because it is a day that our nation has set aside to say thank you, but rather, because our hearts flow from the abundance of what our loving and gracious God has done and continues to do for us.
I. Why We Are Here today?
In the text before us today, Moses, the author of our text reminds the Israelites and us never to forget the goodness of the Lord. Never to forget what the Lord has done for them—He has brought them out with an outstretched hand and strong arm from the slavery of Egypt to the Promised Land. And He supplied them with every blessing to meet their needs of both body and soul.
Today, many have forgotten the reason the Pilgrims stopped so long ago to give thanks to the Lord for protecting them and providing for them through the harsh winter. Today, many think of Thanksgiving Day as a day off, or a day to eat Turkey and watch TV and some go so far to do the most stupid thing—pitch their tents for a week outside a Wal-Mart, or Best Buy until Black Friday rolls around; so they can buy another gadget that soon will be obsolete or breaks down. PAUSE.
It is not like that for us beloved in the Lord. Yes, we are here today because of another Black Friday. Not one where you have stood in line for hours or even days to purchase that coveted item. No, our Black Friday is a blessing from God Himself who sent His Only Son, Jesus Christ to Calvary to stand against all the evil forces of the world and deliver man from the slavery of the devil and the punishment of hell.
We are here today, in His house on Thanksgiving Day to be reminded again and again of the mercy and love of God and to thank Him for all He has done. We are here today, to receive from the abundance of His store houses all He has prepared for us. We are here today, to lift our hearts and voices to our God and say: “THANK YOU FOR LOVING ME AND CARING FOR MY NEEDS! THANK YOU FOR STANDING IN MY PLACE TO TAKE MY PUNISHMENT UPON YOU. THANK YOU FOR SAVING ME FROM THE ETERNAL DAMNATION!” Thanks, is a heavenly gift, it is the perspective to see beyond the circumstances of the moment and see that the Lord, He is here. “For us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary and was made man...” PAUSE.
II. Here He fills Your Sack With His Goods.
Faithful followers of the Savior, when you came into this house of worship you received a paper sack. I would like you to open it up and look inside (give them time) what do you see in it? NOTHING! That is right nothing. You came into God’s presence with an empty sack because you have nothing to offer Him. We have nothing in our sacks to cause our God to love us or honor us. On the contrary, all we have in our sack is our filth and sin.
But wait, look again please. Having confessed your sins, Your gracious Father forgives you and removes the sin from you. He fills your sack with forgiveness. Then you get to hear His Word read to encourage you and bless you in your walk of faith. Another item goes into your sack. Then He blesses you as you hear His Word preached, and yet another is dropped into your sack. Your sack is getting a little heavier, even without you buying anything. But He is not done. He reminds you of what His Son has done for you on Golgotha as He died and rose for you—and the whole world.
This same loving Savior invites you to come to His table. There He serves you the most delicious meal; tastier than any turkey, dressing, gravy and pumpkin pie that you could eat. And the sack is getting heavier. He hears and answers your prayers as He only can and another gift is dropped into your sack. Then as He sends you out into the world He blesses you with His grace and gives you His peace and reminds you that He will be with you wherever you go.
Look again, brothers and sisters in Christ into that sack and you will see, grace upon grace. You will see love, forgiveness, compassion, kindness, mercy, salvation and life eternal and these all are yours FREE.
Then as you leave the church, you put your sack on your back and walk out. Along the journey of life you meet people, you open your sack and begin to divvy out these gifts to others to bless them on their journey of life. And when your sack is empty you come back again and Your gracious Father, fills them up once more to the brim and sends you out in His name and by His command to be a blessing to others.
III. We Come on Thanksgiving Day to truly Thank Him.
On this Thanksgiving Day, we join the throng because it is fitting for us to thank our Lord and God. And just like the man in my opening story was thankful for the many who helped his wife get better and stronger; likewise, we, take the time to thank God and never forget His blessings—the blessings of making us His children. The blessings of filling our empty sacks with His goods. The blessings of realizing we have more than any department store, internet, TV program, or an event in history can fulfill the desires of our hearts—He gives Himself and for that we are indeed THANKFUL.
Saints in Christ, today as you leave with your sacks laden with every heavenly gift, may I remind you of the joy of being called a child of the heavenly King and truly acknowledge that every good and perfect gift is from Him. May you know His constant love for you and devotion to redeem you through the gift of His Son on Calvary’s cross.
As you gather with family and friends kindly remind them that it is not like that for you. You know where your blessings come from—not in the gadgets you are buying on Black Friday, but from the Black Friday of long ago—from Him who loved you and died for you and rose again to give you life and salvation. Amen.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY TO YOU EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU.
Now the peace…
SOLI DEO GLORIA