Back To Sermon Storehouse

Thanksgiving Every Day!

"In everything give thanks." 1 Thessalonians 5:18

These words have something of the impossible about them.
They call us to heights which seem to be too rugged and steep for our feeble feet.
That is probably why many of us never think of taking this great passage seriously.
We simply bypass it.

But Paul was perfectly serious in presenting this truth.
He believed that it was possible to make every day, a day of thanksgiving.
This was not simply a theory with Paul -- this was his conviction.
This was his experience.

As you study his life, you find him in many trying situations.

But never once do you find him without his song of thanksgiving.
"In everything give thanks."

This is something more than just good advice.
It is good advice, but it is far more. Gratitude is not optional.
As Christians, we cannot be grateful or ungrateful as it suits us.
To refuse to be thankful is to refuse to be obedient.
Notice the wide scope of this command.
"In everything give thanks."

That includes so much that many of us would be inclined to say that it is utterly impossible.
In fact, it is impossible unless we receive help from above.
God is constantly calling upon us to do the impossible.

It was impossible for the paralyzed man to rise and walk, but as he was willing, Christ made the impossible, possible.
And God will help us -- if we will allow Him.
"In everything give thanks."

Have we ever taken that passage seriously?
Notice what it says: "In everything." "In everything."

This is a wide-sweeping command. This is truly a high standard that our Lord has set before us.
But it is a possible standard.
God never calls us to do that which through His grace we cannot do.
How can we really be thankful in everything?
"In everything give thanks."

How did Paul do it?
He did not do so by having circumstances that were always favorable.

Nor will we! So, if we never expect to be thankful in everything until everything is entirely to our liking, then we will never
follow this important command.

Read the letters of Paul. This is not true because Paul had everything. How is this amazing possibility to be realized?
The answer: it is to be realized through faith in God.

Gratitude is a child of faith.
If we ever get to the place where we can really give thanks in everything, we will have to possess
a real and vital faith in God.
We will have to believe that Paul spoke the truth when he said,
"All things work together for good to them that love God."

There will be many occasions when we will not see how the trials and defeats that will come upon us
can be for our good.
There will be many times when we will not understand.

There will be those days when we look out and see the black clouds and the pouring rain, the slick streets
and the muddy roads and the water-soaked fields, and faith can still look out and thank God and sing:

"It isn't raining rain to me,
It's raining daffodils;
In every dimpled drop I see
Wild flowers upon the hills.

A cloud of gray engulfs the day
And overwhelms the town;
It isn't raining rain to me,
It's raining roses down.

So a health to him who's happy,
And a fig to him who frets;
It isn't rain to me,
It's raining violets

That is how faith can sing in all circumstances.

While gratitude is a child of faith, it is also a childhood that we must nurture, watch, train, and develop.
Gratitude must be cultivated.
It must be watched over or it will die!
"In everything give thanks."

Paul never reached this height of gratitude without a struggle.
This does not come easily.
We will never realize that high achievement except by conscious effort.

Here are some ways that we can help our selves to cultivate this rare flower called gratitude.
If we are going to be thankful in everything, we cannot begin to do that by ignoring the daily blessings of life.
We often take such blessings for granted.

A pastor happened to meet an old friend who had been suffering from a dreaded disease.
But he had recovered and was in perfect health.
His dreary days of depression had passed.
And he was so happy and so grateful.
He was filled with praise and thanksgiving.

This pastor shared this great gratitude with another friend who said:
"Of course! I would also be thankful, if I had recovered from that terrible disease."

This person seemed to forget to thank God that she had never even been sick.
The constancy of God's blessings sometimes seems to kill our gratitude.

We are so like little children.
Take your child a toy every day when you go home, and it will not be two weeks before
that child will cease to appreciate it.
In fact, that child will even feel wronged, if one day you fail to bring him a toy. In everything give thanks, and to do this, we must do away with our pride and self-sufficiency. Paul was totally different.
After he had returned from a successful missionary journey, he didn't tell what he had done,
but he told of what God had done through him.

May the Lord teach us to have wisdom like that. If so, thank God -- it has all come from Him!
Remember, you cannot simply thank yourself.
The truth of the matter is -- there is not a single blessing that you possess for which you have only yourself to thank. If there is a single thing you value this morning, give thanks for it because it comes to you as a gift from God .

If we are to be grateful in everything, we must refuse to allow the blessings of others to cause us to despise our own.
It is strange that we should be so foolish and so wicked as to do this, and yet we often do. We will never learn to be grateful if we have attitudes like those.

If we are going to be thankful in everything, we must cultivate the habit of giving expression to our thanks.
This is what Paul did! But that is not enough!
God desires that we give thanks.
Surely, many hearts are hurting because we fail to give expression to our gratitude.

To be a thankful Christian is pleasing to God.
Gratitude brings out more gratitude.
A little gratitude from someone tends to strengthen us.
We all work so much better when we know we are appreciated.

As you go down the street on which you live, you notice the wreath on the door of a friend.
Then, you hurry to the funeral home where his dead body lies, and you spill a thousand words of praise
into an ear that does not hear and into a heart that cannot be touched.

"Give Them Flowers While They Live."

"If I should die tonight,
My friends would call to mind, with loving thought,
Some kindly deed the icy hand had wrought,
Some gentle word the frozen lips had said --
Errands on which the willing feet had sped;
The memory of my selfishness and pride,
My hasty words, would all be put it aside,
And so, I should be loved and mourned tonight."

O friends, I pray tonight
Keep not your kisses for my dead cold brow.
The way is lonely; let me feel them now.
Think gently of me; I am travel-worn,
My faltering feet are pierced with many a thorn.
Forgive! O hearts estranged, forgive, I plead!
When ceaseless bliss is mine I shall not need
The tenderness for which I long tonight.

Give gratitude now -- to others -- and to the Lord!

Gratitude is pleasing to God because God is love and love always wants to be appreciated.
We must understand that love will live without appreciation, but it lives in grief and pain and disappointment.
If you love someone, the most terrible wound that they can inflict upon you is the wound of ingratitude.

The high water mark of English tragedy is King Lear, and the climax of that tragedy.
It is the father learning, "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child."

Will the recording angel be able to write your name and mine in the gilded volume of those who are thankful?
Believe me -- you and I can bring no greater joy to our Lord than to fulfill this command:
"In everything give thanks."

Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
Email Dr. White at