II Corinthians 9:6-15 New King James Version (NKJV)
The Cheerful Giver
6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
9 As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness,
11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God.
12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God,
13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men,
14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you.
15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
Thank you, for being a part of God's thankful people.
--People who give thanks to God, not just on our nation's special day of thanksgiving; but every day.
--As the Apostle says, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift" - referring to Jesus, and all we enjoy because He came into the world and our life.
--We give our gratitude to others, but surely to God.
Would that I had the attention of our nation, and an ability to change hearts, I would tell of Jesus like the Apostle Paul did in his travels and epistles.
--To call us all to repentance. Faith. And thanks.
--The Psalms are full of thankfulness, "0 give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His mercy endures forever" (Psalm 106:1). He blesses us all.
--"We.. will give You thanks forever" (Psalm 79:13).
--"Unto You, 0 God, do we give thanks" (75:1).
--For all our Lord has done, let us join in praise!
I got to thinking, it takes four things to be thankful - four significant parts of thankful hearts.
I. THE PEOPLE - LIKE YOU AND ME - WHO ARE THANKFUL.
--Thanksgiving starts within us. We give ourselves.
--We must give thanks - no one can give ours for us.
--We must do it. More thanks, the more blessings.
--That's the way God works. Acknowledge Who God is.
--What He's done for us. What He can and wants to do.
--Each one is important to God. He loves us so.
We enjoy His gifts so much; often thank Him so little.
--Look at II Corinthians 9:8, "God is able ..." He is "able to make all grace abound .. that you, always having all-sufficiency in all things."
--Note, "all grace, always, all sufficiency, and all things," it is all in that promise of God to us.
--This calls for "every good work," and our thanks.
You say, some of us don't have an abundance - for we know those without work, or ills, or losses - yet, I can assure you we are better off than many people.
--Plenty is good, if with God; so is little with Him!
The papers carried a story of firemen trying to stop a blazing fire in a house, and noticed a bird franticly flying in the flames of the tree also on fire.
--Her chirping little fledglings were in the nest.
--As nest began to burn the mother zoomed down, upon the baby birds and covered their bodies with hers.
--They were unable to save them, but marvelled at the love of that mother-bird. Where did she get it?
--Our loving Heavenly Father! From God Who made all.
--Shouldn't we have that kind of love? We people?
--For God? One another? And show loving gratitude?
What those firemen could not do, to save those birds, Jesus did for us - for He died, so we may live.
--He rescued us from the fires of judgment and hell.
--How we - you and me - ought to thank the Lord!
--Thanksfulness, you see, is an individual thing.
We need to thank God, and thank people, all people.
--All those many people - seen, unseen - who serve.
--Don't forget your parents, who do so much for us.
--Our families and friends, we often take for granted.
When our children were younger we visited historical, educational, places like Plymouth, MA, where pilgrims landed; and saw the famed rock and Mayflower ship.
--Climbed the hill to the cemetery, read the stones.
--Reflected on the sacrifices of those pioneers.
--They had so little, yet were grateful, for much.
--God had preserved and provided for these pilgrims.
--Those people were so very thankful. How about us?
--What would they think of Americans, today?
--How so many forget to "Praise God from Whom all of our blessings flow." Neglect His House, His day.
--Overlook His Son. And break God's Commandments.
--What would they think of us? or, say to us?
Let's put God first, like the Pilgrims did!
--One of their first buildings - a place to worship!
--Not a stadium - a church! Let's get back to God!
--Back to the Bible. To be a truly thankful people!
II. WE NEED ONE TO BE THANKFUL TO - THE LORD GOD.
--Paul says, "Thanks be to God." Not some hero.
--Or movie or sports idol, Not good luck, or fate.
--"Thanks be to God!" He's the Giver to be thanked.
--Woe to us - and America - if we forget the Lord.
--Nations who do forget God in the end have fallen.
--Let's not bring that upon us, or our children.
So many we cannot thank - they are no longer around.
--Gone, but not forgotten. But God, we can thank.
--And God, revealed in Jesus, we all ought to thank.
--He's the God Who became Man, so men may be with God.
--And, by His Holy Spirit, have God with us.
You may think, why be thankful? Things not so good.
--We all have problems. Pains. Sorrow. Loss.
--This life, on earth, is not heaven - that's later.
--Tough times teach us to be more thankful and godly.
--After all, we are still alive! Got one another!
--Still loved by Almighty God, and a loving Savior.
--The question - How much do we really love Him?
St. Paul faced beatings, prisons, shipwrecks, losses, but was always ready to praise and thank God in it!
--Even with his "thorn in the flesh." How could he?
--Jesus transformed his life! Jesus ever with Paul.
--When we know Him fully we will praise Him too.
--The Lord God is the One above all, to thank.
III. SOMETHING TO BE THANKFUL FOR - OUR BLESSINGS.
--We've touched on some, but they multiply to us.
--We used to play a game with our children, to find the largest number of things we're thankful for.
--Try it, yourself - or with your children.
Two kinds of people find it hard to give God thanks.
--Those whose material cup is full and overflowing.
--They are well. Have plenty. Few if any worries.
--Like the man who told me, "I don't need to say any thanks to God - I got it all by myself - I did it."
Then, there's the one whose cup seems so empty.
--Pockets empty, job uncertain; marriage rocky, and children giving trouble; maybe feel alone - fears for the future. That one needs to be "born again".
--For each of these, and all in between, you are so loved by the Lord .. and blessed in many ways.
--Get with Jesus, in His House and Word and improve.
Friend, without Jesus you and I are lost in sin.
--Jesus said, "I am come to seek and save the lost."
--Jesus is that "indescribable gift" we are to be so "thankful" for, of our Scripture. The Messiah.
--The One Who paid our sin-debt on a cross, and rose again the third day, is God's gift "too wonderful, for words" that is "unspeakable, indescribable."
--This Gift is forgiveness, heaven, joy, life eternal.
--Jesus is our kind of God, who embodies God's love.
--The God we need to be thankful for - and to.
What else does true thanksgiving really require?
IV. SOMETHING TO BE THANKFUL WITH - OUR LIVES.
--Often a gift is responded with a thank you note or our gift to the giver, showing our gratitude.
--Something to be thankful with - more than words.
--God's "indescribable Gift" should have our life.
Of all ways to say "thanks," our life to God is best.
--Paul speaks of money. Tithe. Time. Service.
--And all these are fine and good, and are needed.
--But when we love Jesus, we first give ourselves.
--We may not have much else - but yourself is finest.
--Yielding to Christ best says, "Thank you to God."
Our granddaughter has a Masters from Northwestern University, and I read of a student who rescued 17 people from a shipwreck on Lake Michigan nearby, risked his own life to rescue them, one after another.
--After, he said, "Not one told me 'thank you."'
--They had been saved from the deep. Failed to say a simple "Thank you." With God, are we like that?
--Let it not be said of us as we read in Romans 1:21. ".. they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful." They were not "thankful." That's a sin.
Jesus at His cross rescued the world from judgment.
--Yet, many have not followed Him or given thanks.
--We need something to be thankful with - our life!
I am so glad Jesus came, to the world, and to me.
--He wants to come as Savior and Lord of your life.
--Each life to be thankful with, that pleases God.
--Why not make sure today? That's why Jesus came.
--And be thankful! - Wilbert D. Gough, ThD.,DD. 336
Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 336