Thanks,
God!  Peg Ten Have, July 14, 2024
1
Thessalonians 5: 12-18
Thank you
for being here this morning.  I don’t
know if you are here out of habit to visit with friends, or to soak in God’s
word for the coming week, but I am thankful that you are here.
How many
times do we give thanks every day?  Once,
twice, never?
A version in
Psalms, specifically Psalm 118: 24 is one we all know.  It reads “This is the day that the Lord has
made, let us rejoice and be glad in it”
Now that is being thankful.  This
verse has been repeated in church services, youth gatherings, annual
conferences, and many other gatherings.
Hopefully we are reminded of this on our “down” days.  I know I am.
Did you hear
the scripture Bryan just read?  Please
note verse 18 that says we should give thanks in all circumstances; this is God’s
will for you in Christ Jesus.
Now I’m the
first to admit that I don’t give thanks for a trip to the dentist.  I’ve never had a root canal, but from what I
have heard from others, it’s not an experience that I would like to have.  Actually, a bad e4xperience with a dentist as
a child, and then dry socket, as an adult, it’s left me with a fear of dentists
ever since.
Letting go
of my past, let’s go to the beginning of the scripture.  Verse 12 tells us that we should acknowledge
those who work hard among us, who care for us in the Lord, and who admonish
us.  Acknowledging those who work hard
among us, sounds easy, but sometimes that store clerk gets on our last nerve.  It can be hard to thank them, but consider
that they may be having a rought day, or they just might not like their job,
but they and possibly their families need to eat.  The same goes for wait staff in restaurants,
clerks in offices, just about any place we may interact with others.  Am I always polite, thoughtful, thankful?  Not always.
I can be as selfish as the next person.
It takes practice to say thank you, and some days even to smile at
someone else.  We all have bad days.
Living in
peace with others is hard work.  Raising
kids can give us plenty of practice to do that.
Those “kids” can be anywhere from the terrible twos to full blown
adults; even those who are recently turned 18, so the government considers them
adults.
We are urged
to warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the
weak, and be patient with everyone.  How
do we do that when we are the ones who fall into that category?  We know how we feel when someone warns us
about our behavior.  Even when it is necessary,
it’s not easy to accept that warning graciously.  Sometimes I just smile, shut up, and walk
away, then go somewhere private and sulk.
After all, who are they to tell me I’m wrong?  Can’t they see what they are doing is wrong?
I’m lucky in
some respects because I can go home and vent to my hearts’ content.  After all, the cat doesn’t talk back or tell
me that maybe I am in the wrong in this particular case.  I really need to calm down and let God clue
me in.  That usually happens when I’m asleep.  I’m one of those people whose brain doesn’t
shut off some nights and I hash days over and over until life makes sense
again.
We can go
over the whole scripture reading, verse by verse, but let’s move on to other
possible scripture that mentions being thankful.  You can open your Bible to the scripture and
apply each verse to yourself in private.
When I first
considered this topic, I went online and googled verses about
thanksgiving.  I initially found 17
verses.  Of course, my concordance indicates
there are many more than that initial 17.
If you would like, we can stay here all day and go through all of them,
but I think not.
So, James
1:17 reads as follows:  “Every good and
perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows.
Have you
ever given someone a gift and they said it was perfect?  Was it more perfect than the gift God gave
us, His Son?  I know I am getting carried
away, but sometimes we tell someone a gift is perfect so that their feelings
aren’t hurt.  It may be a nice gift but
not something you would even consider for yourself.
When I was
much younger, elementary school or junior high, my aunt and uncle in Michigan
always gave my sister and me gifts that I never did use.  They didn’t see us often enough to know our
tastes or lifestyles.  It was kind of
like shopping for clothes.  My dad could
pick something out for me that was more my taste than anything  my mother would pick out.  Dad just knew me better.  Probably because I was a tomboy and not a “girly
girl”
One thought
that keeps running through my mind is the scripture in Matthew when Joseph
learns that Mary is to have a child.
Initially, he didn’t know the child was from the holy spirit.  Thank goodness for angels who come unaware
and clue us into reality.
Do you think
that Mary was thankful to learn that she was pregnant?  Think about it; a young teen who has never
had relations with a man, is pledged to a carpenter and told she will have a child.  I think my first thought would be how did
this happen, how did this man get into my sleeping quarters, and how do I tell
my parents?  What will Joseph say?
Quite an
uncommon situation but thanks to God’s angels, the right decisions are
made.  That’s something as Christians
that we can be thankful about.
Our district
superintendant, Marti Lundy’s 4th of July district news posting
focused on giving thanks, especially writing thank you notes.  She noted that her upbringing focused on
saying thanks.  This is something we don’t
say often enough.  We must have been on
the same wavelength.
I’ve decided
to start a “thank you” journal.  You are
welcome to join me in this.  It’s like a
diary.  Try to write down at least one
thing that you are thankful for each day.
Multiple listings are acceptable.
You know what you are thankful for: perhaps blue skies after a rainy
season, fans when you don’t have air conditioning, income to pay your bills and
buy groceries.  Maybe visits or phone
calls, especially when you are feeling down.
You know, the kind that come at just the right time.
I have a
neighbor who has decided to mow my front yard when he mows his own.  I didn’t ask for this, but I sure do
appreciate it.  He also trims my
bushes.  He won’t take payment; he just
enjoys working outside.  He also doesn’t
want help; he likes working alone.  Does
that go in my thanks journal?  Of course
it does!
One thanks I
have this weekend is that my computer crashed on Friday when I was working on
this sermon.  I am very thankful we have
a computer here at church that I could use to complete my sermon, and print out
a copy for Becky and of course the one I am reading from right now.
Please keep
1 Thessalonians 5: 18 in your mind this week; give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.