Thanksgiving – Unthankful Stinkers – Our parents and grandparents seemed to be able to be truly thankful. They had far less than we do today concerning conveniences and luxuries. However, they seemed to be much more thankful than we are today. What happened? Why does our nation seem so ungrateful and thankless today? There are probably several reasons, but I do know one reason.
By Pastor Delbert Young
THANKSGIVING UNTHANKFUL STINKERS
Scriptures: Psalms 100:1-5; 1 John 4:16
Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. Did you hear about the man from north Georgia who called his son in Oklahoma City before Thanksgiving and said, “I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty years of misery is enough.” “Dad, what are you talking about?” the son screamed. “We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,” the father said. “We’re sick of each other, and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Atlanta and tell her.” Frantic, the son called his sister, who exploded on the phone. “No they are not getting a divorce!” she yelled on the phone. “I will take care of this.” She called her dad screaming, “You are not getting divorced. You do not do a single thing until I get there. My brother is getting plane tickets right now for all of them. We will pick them up at the airport and all of us will be there tomorrow.” She hung up. The father turned and said to his wife, “Okay, the kids and grandchildren are coming for thanksgiving tomorrow and paying their own way.”
Have you heard what you get when you cross a turkey with an octopus? You get enough drumsticks for everyone.
Last year, I had a chance to do the traditional pilgrim thing of shooting my own turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. I had pretty good luck too, but you should have seen the people running out of Shop Rite grocery store.
You heard about the sixth-grader required to write a report on what he was thankful for this Thanksgiving. He said, “I am thankful that I am not the turkey.”
On a serious note, what do you think of when you consider the Thanksgiving Holiday? Don’t you think about getting together with family and friends, having a big meal, maybe do some catching up with family, showing off the children and grandchildren, watching some football, relaxing etc.? But, did you know that the Thanksgiving Holiday we celebrate every year, all across our amazingly wonderful nation, has its very foundation in a Christian meeting? As you know, the Pilgrims left the Mayflower in December of 1620. Their first months were horrific with around half of the original 102 dying before the first winter was over. That spring, they planted their first crops with the aid of Native Americans. They constructed their colony. They felt so blessed they had enough food to store for the winter months that they had a three-day feast and invited the Native Americans. That is what we typically relate to as the first official “Thanksgiving.” However, it was not. It was three years later that the first official “Thanksgiving” actually took place. In 1623, Governor William Bradford of the Plymouth Colonies made the historic “Thanksgiving Proclamation.” The end of the proclamation said, “Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all you Pilgrims, with your wives and your little ones, do gather at the meeting house, on the hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three and the third year since you Pilgrims landed on Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to your pastor and RENDER THANKSGIVING TO ALMIGHTY GOD FOR ALL HIS BLESSINGS.” (emphasis added) My point is the foundation of Thanksgiving Day was not to feast on turkey or goose, or corn. It was to thank Almighty God for all his blessings.
President George Washington issued a proclamation on the third day of October, 1789, designating a day of prayer and thanksgiving. Washington sent the proclamation to the governor of each state. It said “I do myself the honor to enclose to your Excellency a Proclamation for a general Thanksgiving which I must request the favor of you to have published and made known in your State…”The purpose of the proclamation was to make certain our country observed a day for prayer and thanksgiving to God, not feasting.
President Abraham Lincoln made a proclamation in 1863. He said, “I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as A DAY OF THANKSGIVING AND PRAISE TO OUR BENEFICENT FATHER who dwelleth in the Heavens.” (emphasis added)
That date later changed to the fourth Thursday of November, by President Franklin Roosevelt who said, “Let us, therefore, on the day appointed, each in his own way, but together as a whole people, make due expression of designating the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day, A DAY FOR THE NATION TO GIVE THANKS TO ALMIGHTY GOD.” (emphasis added) My point is the foundation of Thanksgiving Day is a day FOR OUR NATION TO GIVE THANKS TO ALMIGHTY GOD. The turkey/feast thing just followed along.
Those who can, remember with me how our parents and grandparents seemed to be able to be truly thankful. They had far less than we do today concerning conveniences and luxuries. However, they seemed to be much more grateful and thankful than we are today. Those of you who can remember back to the 50’s and 60’s, do you agree with me? What happened? Why does our nation seem so ungrateful and thankless today? There are probably several reasons, but I know one reason. In 1962, our Supreme Court began removing anything about our Almighty God from our schools. The high court banned state-directed prayers in public schools. I was fourteen years old then and didn’t think much about it. I had growing up on my mind, but where were my parents? Suddenly, it was illegal to ask people to sit through a prayer, at a state funded public school, which gave thanksgiving to Almighty God. In 1963, our Supreme Court banned reading the Bible for religious purposes in the public school. We were children and knew no better, but where were our parents? In 1980, the Supreme Court said schools could no longer post the Ten Commandments. I was then 32. Where was I? Where were many of us? By then, we were transforming into UNTHANKFUL STINKERS. So, unless children had a good church and parents who taught them about giving thanksgiving to God at home, they never learned that it is God we need to thank for all things including this amazing nation called the United States of America. See, it is in those tender young developmental years when learning comes so easy, those years when we develop the foundations of life, that the Supreme Court removed learning about our wonderful God. The enemy strategically attempted to remove God from our lives by removing God from the place children spend their childhood learning years. Here is the kicker. Those children I am speaking about back in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, are us today! We, for the most part, are that generation from whom the Supreme Court attempted to remove, from our learning process, anything concerning God and that decision resulted in a generation of UNTHANKFUL STINKERS. Unless you graduated from High School prior to 1962, you are affected. Most of us, not all of us, but most of us, graduated after 1962. That decision affected our thankfulness.
Those Supreme Court decisions made back then, affect children in public schools EVEN MORE concerning thankfulness today. Let’s see if I am accurate. I will ask you a question. How thankful are your children? Do they appreciate what you do for them, or are they UNTHANKFUL STINKERS? I was talking to someone a few days ago who relayed to me some disrespectful/unthankful problems they have with a child. We both talked about how it was not that way when we were children. The unthankful attitudes the Supreme Court forced upon me affected me, but they tremendously influenced our children and now our grandchildren.
Learning to be thankful to God is crucial to a person having a successful, God blessed, and thankful life. A person will never truly be thankful for anything if not foundationally thankful to God. Let me show you what I mean. Today, most of the things for which we say we are thankful, though perhaps important, are not basic/foundational.
Let’s list some things for which most of us would be thankful: spouse, children, family, friends, employment, church, pastor, house, car/truck, health, financial situation, stable mind, etc. Those things, while nothing is wrong with being thankful for them, are not foundational. What? The truth is any of those things could change overnight. Some of you have gone through the heartache of changing spouses. When that happens, the family changes. Friends can change. People change churches and pastors. We change cars and trucks frequently. Health can change. Financial situations change. If they can change, they are not foundational.
What if all those things were removed from your life today? If they were, could you celebrate “Thanksgiving Day” Thursday? If those things were removed, would you be thankful Thursday? I hope those things are not the foundation of your thanksgiving. Regardless of circumstances, the Christ follower’s thanksgiving is foundational, for while we are grateful for “things,” things ARE NOT the foundation of our Thanksgiving. Psalm 100 expresses this thought.
Psalm 100:1-5 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are 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. FOR THE LORD IS GOOD AND HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER; HIS FAITHFULNESS CONTINUES THROUGH ALL GENERATIONS.
We can always enter the Lord’s presence with THANKSGIVING and we can always GIVE THANKS TO HIM FOR – here are three foundational reasons why we can –(1) THE LORD IS GOOD. (2) HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER. (3) HIS FAITHFULNESS CONTINUES THROUGH ALL GENERATIONS. If these three truths are in our lives, we have the foundation for THANKSGIVING. Although most things for which we may be thankful could change or remove overnight, these three things will never change and never remove. When we have these three foundations in our lives, no matter what we experience, we cannot help but SHOUT FOR JOY TO THE LORD. We cannot help but WORSHIP THE LORD WITH GLADNESS. We cannot help but COME BEFORE HIM WITH JOYFUL SONGS. We cannot help but ENTER HIS GATES WITH THANKSGIVING!
I want to project this to you in a visual using a 3-leg stool. A 3-leg stool will only stand on all 3 legs. This stool represents a thankful life. The stool will not stand on one leg, or even two legs. It must have three legs to stand. Once it does, you can climb up and stand on it. It will support your life. Let’s look quickly at these three legs.
(1) THE LORD IS GOOD – FIRST LEG – This sums up the character of God. HE IS GOOD. The Hebrew word is towb (Strong’s #2896) and means good in the widest sense. It is the same word used when God told the sun and moon to give light and said it was good (Gen 1:4). Do you think the sun and moon are good? You can thank God for them. It’s the same word used when God looked at all of creation and said it is very good (Gen 1:31). Do you think all creation is good? Are you thankful for the trees, water, the land, the birds, animals, fish, etc.? We have them because THE LORD IS GOOD. God is so good, that he makes covenant with us as he did with Abraham and says you will live and have a good old age (Gen 15:15). God is so good that what the devil and people intend for evil against you, God changes for your good (Gen 50:20; Rom 8:28). Jesus said that God is so good that he loves to give good things to them that ask him (Mat 7:11). God is so good that he gave us the good shepherd Jesus (Joh 10:11). James said God is so good that every good and perfect gift we have comes from him (Jam 1:17). Somebody ought to shout and give thanksgiving and say GOD IS GOOD!
(2) HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER – SECOND LEG – What does that mean? Our God has enduring love. In fact, love is what he is.
1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. GOD IS LOVE. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
God’s love can endure anything. Sometimes we wonder how God can love us. It’s because HIS LOVE ENDURES. Plus, it is not that His love only ENDURES us. He desires with desire to love us. The way God loved Noah, and Abraham, and Sarah, and David, and Esther, and Peter, and Mary Magdalene, and on and on, is the exact way he loves you. His love endures FOREVER. His love is an ocean that can never be drawn dry. Somebody give thanksgiving because God is love and HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER.
(3) HIS FAITHFULNESS CONTINUES THROUGH ALL GENERATIONS – THIRD LEG – As Father God was faithful to Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac, and Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons and daughter, and Moses, and Joshua, Rahab, Gideon, Samson, Deborah, Samuel, Job, David, Solomon, Ester, Isaiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Peter, James, John, Paul, and on and on, God is faithful to you. His FAITHFULNESS CONTINUED to your grandparents, parents, and you. His FAITHFULNESS CONTINUES on to your children, your grandchildren, your great-grandchildren, your great, great-grandchildren and on and on and on and on. You win! Your children win! Your grandchildren win. Your great, great, great, great-grandchildren win! All your GENERATIONS win. We will never lose. Charles Spurgeon said in 1885, “It were well if the truth of divine faithfulness were more fully remembered by some theologians; it would overturn their belief in the final fall of believers, and teach them a more consolatory system. Our heart leaps for joy as we bow before One who has never broken his word or changed his purpose.” Be thankful, for you do not need to worry about a demonic dictator overcoming the church, or your future generations. HIS FAITHFULNESS CONTINUES THROUGH ALL GENERATIONS!
When we truly give THANKSGIVING, Father God’s GOODNESS, LOVE, AND FAITHFULNESS are the foundation of our lives. We are not UNTHANKFUL STINKERS. We are people of Thanksgiving, taking time to give, and teach our children and grandchildren to give Thanksgiving to our ALMIGHTY GOD for our blessings.
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