Thinking about Thanking

Sunday service, Detlef Stegen, 11 Nov 2018

Heb 12:12 – 17

12 For this cause let the hands which are hanging down be lifted up, and let the feeble knees be made strong,

13 And make straight roads for your feet, so that the feeble may not be turned out of the way, but may be made strong.

14 Let your desire be for peace with all men, and to be made holy, without which no man may see the Lord;

15 Looking with care to see that no man among you in his behaviour comes short of the grace of God; for fear that some bitter root may come up to be a trouble to you, and that some of you may be made unclean by it;

16 And that there may not be any evil liver, or any man without respect for God, like Esau, who let his birthright go for a plate of food.

17 For you have knowledge that even long after, when he was desiring the blessing for his heritage, he was turned away, though he made his request frequently and with weeping.

There are many things we must see to, but it must be under God’s control. We must strive to be in a right relationship with God – that we have our eyes washed and cleansed and that our feelings are controlled by God’s Holy Spirit. That our tongues be directed and sifted by His cleansing work.

The story is told of a man who found a barn where satan keeps his seed to sow in the hearts of men. The seeds of discouragement were by far the most numerous and could grow almost anywhere. However there was one place where these seeds did not grow, in a grateful, thankful heart.

Have you been discouraged, and disappointed by people? Have you been discouraged because of your children or your parents? Then look and see if the reason is not perhaps that your heart is no longer grateful. You feel like you are disjointed, you don’t have strength to carry on. But do you not have enough reason to be thankful? Just think how often others have helped you. Just think how others cared for you when you were sick. Do you have reason to be ungrateful?

Children, maybe because of one or two things that your parents said no to you for, you have an unhappy heart but you miss the dozens of things that your parents allow and bless you with.

A certain teenager, Barbara Ann Kipfer, decided to make a list of the things she could be thankful for, and soon it became a habit. Wherever she went, she looked for things she could be thankful for and wrote them down. Years later her notes were published in a book, “14,000 things to be happy about”.

The writer of “take my life” did the same. It was her way of thinking about thanking. What do you think about? If you think about rotten and corrupt things, that will become your personality. But how different to think about thanking.

Just think that we were on our way to hell, bound in our sin. But then God sent His Son in the Lord Jesus to save us from our sin! Isn’t that something to be infinitely thankful for? He cared for us and thought of us when we didn’t care for Him. And He bestowed upon us every heavenly blessing from His treasures. We were unworthy but He cared enough to pay the ultimate price.

But oh, we forget so quickly! We think people are bad who rob banks and kill people, but just think how evil it is to be unthankful towards God for His gifts!

When you are unthankful you find that you cannot strive after peace with everyone but you want to fight with everyone. Neither do not care for holiness anymore. It is not enough to sing and pray, “Holy, Holy, Holy”. Your life needs to be separated for the Lord.

The words thank and think come from the same root. It reminds us that thanksgiving comes from thinking about our blessings.

Helen Keller said that it might be profitable for everyone to be stricken blind and deaf for a time, during their adult lives. Then they will have a new appreciation for things they take for granted. She was blind and deaf herself.

We should not be unholy like Esau. The birthright was given to him by God. But through being ungrateful he lost everything.

Can Jesus trust you, or have you become untrustworthy and unthankful. We need each other. Let us encourage each other to remain thankful.


German translation

French translation