"Reasons to be Thankful"
November 18, 2007 Second Reformed Church
Have you ever heard someone say that they have no reason to be thankful? I was talking with a woman who was complaining on and on about everything you could possibly think of, and I said to her, "Why don't you focus on the things you have to be thankful for?" And she said, "I don't have anything to be thankful for: no one has ever given me anything. I work hard for everything I get and no one has ever helped me." I suggested she could be thankful that she was able to work, that she was in good enough health to work, that she had a job, and so forth. And she cursed at me. I felt very sad for her.
Do you have anything to be thankful for? Before you say, "No!" Think about all of the things and people in your life -- about this church and what Christianity means for you. You might take time this next week -- as we celebrate Thanksgiving as a nation -- to list what you are thankful for -- to remind yourself. The list doesn't have to be only the most profound and life-changing things -- if you're thankful for cocktail hotdogs, then give thanks for them.
And when you give thanks, give thanks to all those involved in getting cocktail hotdogs to your plate, and especially God, without Whom there would be no cocktail hotdogs. As we saw last week -- everything was created by God, everything is God's, every good thing comes to us from God. So, if we are thankful for cocktail hotdogs, we ought to recognize and give God thanks that He chose to give us cocktail hotdogs. And, if we can learn to give thanks for cocktail hotdogs, perhaps our eyes will to open to the blessings upon blessings that God has given us, and we will understand how blessed a life we have and how many things we have to be thankful for.
Psalm 100 is a psalm of thanksgiving; it is a psalm in which the psalmist gives us reasons to be thankful. And let us notice immediately that the psalmist calls us to be thankful -- it is a command from God that we be thankful. Why? Because when we are filled with joy from God’s blessing and offer up thanks to God, He is magnified -- He is seen more clearly -- He is glorified for Who He is.
"Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth." Shout for joy to YHWH, all the earth.
We, and all of the Creation, ought to be thankful because God is. God's Very Existence should cause us to be thankful, because God lets us know that He is the Good and Unchangeable God. We and all of the Creation see God in nature -- we understand what kind of God God is just by looking around us, so we ought to respond to what we have seen in His Creation and Preservation with the thanks that are due Him.
And that thanks is no half-hearted "thanks." No, the psalmist says we ought to jump for joy, we ought to stand up -- give a standing ovation -- as though the King had entered the room -- and He has. We know something of the character of God through nature and we who believe know even more through the Bible. So we ought to be enthusiastic in our thanks to God.
"Worship the Lord with gladness; come into his presence with singing."
We ought to be thankful, because you and I have the unparallel grace that we are able to come into the very presence of God and live. You and I can come before the Only True God, He Who holds all things in His Hand, and He has not struck us dead for our sin. We ought be awe-struck that God not only allows, but invites, sinners to stand safely before His Holiness.
"Know that the Lord is God." Know that YHWH is Elohim.
We ought to be thankful that God interacts with us on all levels: we do not merely know God emotionally, but we also know Him intellectually. God is the Creator and Maintainer of logic, and He calls us to use our minds -- to rationally interact with God and His Word. Christianity is not an irrational religion -- we are called to think, and to give thanks that we are...