Give THANKS to God
Give THANKS to God is a sermon from Psalm 100:1-5 on the need to give THANKS to God this #Thanksgiving.
Story: Bad Parrot
A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary.
Every word out of the bird’s mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird’s attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to ‘clean up’ the bird’s vocabulary.
Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even more rude. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.
Fearing that he’d hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John’s outstretched arms and said “I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I’m sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior.”
John was stunned at the change in the bird’s attitude.
As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird spoke-up, very softly, “May I ask what the turkey did?”1
History of Thanksgiving Holiday in the United States
Thanksgiving might not be celebrated in the United States today, were it not for a patient, persistent woman named Sarah Hale. It is well-known that the first Thanksgiving Day was celebrated by the Pilgrim Fathers in 1621 to give thanks for their winter in the New World.
In 1789, President George Washington issued a Thanksgiving Day Proclamation to commemorate the first Pilgrim celebration. But Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States discontinued it, calling Thanksgiving, “a kingly practice.” After this, Thanksgiving was observed by some individual states, and on whatever date suited their fancy. Then in 1828, Mrs. Hale, the editor of the magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book and author of the poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” began campaigning for the restoration of Thanksgiving as a national holiday. She wrote letters and sought appointments with national leaders from the President down. Time after time she was politely rebuffed, sometimes being told it was “impossible” and “impractical,” and sometimes being dismissed with a this-is-none-of-your-business scolding.
Finally in 1863 President Lincoln listened seriously to her plea that North and South “lay aside enmities and strife on (Thanksgiving) Day.” He proclaimed the fourth Thursday of November to be the official “National Thanksgiving Day.” This day was finally ratified by the U. S. Congress in 1941.
So we come to another year in which we celebrate an American holiday we call Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, our version of Thanksgiving is far removed from the way in which the original Pilgrims who came to the New World.
Just before Thanksgiving in 2012, Representative Ron Paul gave his last speech to the House of Representatives. He has run for President twice and he has spoken often of the role of a limited government. He concluded his speech with the following quote:
“Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed. The Founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people. The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified.”2
Our society depends on a virtuous and moral people. It means that our country cannot survive on secularism and materialism. However, that is what the Thanksgiving holiday has become. Merchants are trying to find a way to have their shops open on Thanksgiving Day. At the same time, people take less time to thank God. Instead, they take more time to watch sports on their television and gorge on food. While spending time with the family is important, it should not replace a time of worship to God. We are a spiritually moral people and it should be reflected in our Thanksgiving holiday. How can you do that in this hectic holiday season?
This psalm describes six different ways one can give thanks to God. Let’ use the acronym THANKS to show this:
T – Triumphantly shout to God (Psalm 100:1).
“Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth.” (Psalm 100:1, HCSB)
H – Happily serve God (Psalm 100:2)
“Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs.” (Psalm 100:2, HCSB)
A – Acknowledge God as my God (Psalm 100:3)
“Acknowledge that Yahweh is God. He made us, and we are His — His people, the sheep of His pasture.” (Psalm 100:3, HCSB)
N – Name God as my security and in my worship (Psalm 100:3-4)
“Acknowledge that Yahweh is God. He made us, and we are His — His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.” (Psalm 100:3–4, HCSB)
K – Kneel in a prayer of gratitude (Psalm 100:4)
“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.” (Psalm 100:4, HCSB)
S – Show God’s goodness to others (Psalm 100:5)
“For Yahweh is good, and His love is eternal; His faithfulness endures through all generations.” (Psalm 100:5, HCSB)
Giving thanks to God is an attitude that requires practice. It is part of a practice of prayer in which everyone can be involved.3
Prayer: God, I want to thank You for how You have been faithful to me. Thank You for Your goodness and love.
1 Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc., 1996).
2 “Ron Paul Delivers Historic Speech in Last Appearance in Congress.” http://natmonitor.com/2012/11/14/ron-paul-delivers-historic-speech-in-last-appearance-in-congress-video/, accessed on 15 November 2012.
3 “Give THANKS to God,” Psalm 100:1-5, Lectionary Reflections Year B (2014-2015), 22 July 2015, Logos Bible Software Notes, http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jimerwin/2015/07/22/give-thanks-to-god/, accessed on 18 November 2015.