Introduction

  1. Text: Col. 3:17.
  2. God is He who “gives to all life, breath, and all things” (Ac. 17:25) — He is the Giver of “every good gift and every perfect gift” (Jas. 1:17).
  3. Being thankful is right — we ought to be grateful to God – 1 Thess. 5:18. Cf. Psa. 92:1; Phil. 4:6; Col. 3:17; 4:2.
  4. But being thankful is good not only because it is right and holds the promise of God’s favor — it is good because of its influence on others.

I. The Sin of Unthankfulness

  1. Is there any more common sin than ingratitude? The simplest duties seem the hardest to fulfill. Cf. Lk. 17:15-18.
  2. What if God took back every blessing for which we are not properly grateful? Would we have anything left?
  3. Is there any greater sin than ingratitude? God has never looked lightly on the complainer – e.g. Num. 21:5,6.
    1. Sometimes our ingratitude is the result of not remembering what it was like to be without. There is a definite link between prosperity and unthankfulness – Deut. 8:3. Cf. vv.7-18.
    2. For example, the surest way to produce ungrateful children is to give them everything they want.
  4. Nothing hurts quite like ingratitude — especially within a family. Cf. the sadness in Jn. 1:11.
  5. Not only is ingratitude a sin, but it is at the root of many other sins. It is the first step on the road that leads away from God – Rom. 1:21.
  6. We need to “count our blessings” — sometimes even literally.

II. The Need to Express Our Thankfulness

  1. Thanksgiving to God, the “fruit of our lips,” is a “sacrifice of praise to God” (Hb. 13:15).
  2. Unexpressed gratitude is not much better than ingratitude — yet how often we make excuses: we did not have time, it was an oversight, etc.
  3. God has been gracious to each of us, but that grace will have been “in vain” (1 Cor. 15:10) if we do not properly:
    1. Receive it.
    2. Appreciate it.
    3. Express our gratitude for it.
  4. As with love, gratitude must be expressed with deeds as well as words. Cf. 1 Jn. 3:18.
  5. Ultimately, we show our gratitude to God by the help we give to others – Mt. 25:31-46.

III. The Effect of Thankfulness

  1. Being thankful is one way all of us can let our light shine — and what a powerful influence it can have on those around us.
  2. As indicated, “expressing” our gratitude can mean:
    1. Expressing our gratitude to God for His blessings
    2. Expressing our gratitude to others for their kindness.
  3. It can also mean reflecting to others of our gratitude for God’s blessings – Mk. 5:19. Cf. Psa. 105:1,2; 1 Pt. 2:9.
    1. We can set a good example by saying thanks before meals in the presence of others – Ac. 27:35.
    2. We can show how being thankful gives peace of mind, how gratitude for what is right diminishes anxiety about what is wrong – Phil. 4:6,7.
    3. We can draw others toward the family of God by showing real thankfulness for the privilege of being God’s children (1 Jn. 3:1) — and by letting it be known how much we appreciate our brethren in the Lord (Phil. 1:3).
    4. We can draw others toward the Lord by showing real thankfulness for the spiritual blessings we enjoy in Christ – Eph. 1:3.

Conclusion

  1. Perhaps genuine thankfulness is such a potent influence for good because it is so rare and unexpected.
  2. Like Daniel, we need to let our light shine by being openly grateful to our God for His grace – Dan. 6:10.
  3. When we do that — and also make a habit of expressing gratitude to others for what they do — we will be amazed at the results.

Gary Henry – WordPoints.com

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