I really want to thank you for your prayers over the past week.? Many of you know what it’s like to deal with an aging parent.? I had a good trip in many ways – a tough one, but a good one.? It’s good to be back home.
It’s that time of year.? Life is so busy that we need to do what Israel did thousands of years ago – occasionally take a break from our schedules and pause to take a wider view.? That’s why we celebrate holidays (holy-days), and in particular this one – one of my favorite holidays, one of the least commercialized, at least in Canada.? Turkey….football…a day off work…family…but most of all:
Thanksgiving is a time to pause, to take stock, and give thanks? God.? All of us have plenty of reasons to be grateful.
Let me ask you a question: What are you grateful for?? Let’s just list five things.? They may be simple things, but take a minute to list just five.
1?????????? Praise the LORD!
??????????? Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good!
??????????? His faithful love endures forever.
2??????????Who can list the glorious miracles of the LORD?
??????????? Who can ever praise him half enough?
??????????? (Psalm 106)
The Opposite of Thankfulness
Our human tendency isn’t to be grateful, but to want more.
We spend more time thinking about what we want and don’t yet have than being grateful for what we already have.
Our culture, our natures: accumulating, dreaming (car, house, vacation, clothes, toys), admiring what others have. Media: we need it, we deserve it, it will make us happy.
17Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else your neighbor owns.” (Exodus 20:17)
Paraphrase: “Don’t covet your neighbor’s house.? Don’t covet your friend’s spouse, their cleaning lady, their car, or anything else that your neighbor owns.”
This isn’t one of the commandments that gets in jail – like murdering, stealing, or bearing false witness.? It’s a socially acceptable sin.? It’s the reason many of us live.? But it’s wrong, and dangerous.
When you think about it – what a pathetic purpose in life – to own and accumulate, especially when we never reach the stage at which we have enough.
15Then he said, “Beware! Don’t be greedy for what you don’t have. Real life is not measured by how much we own.” (Luke 12:15)
“Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” (NASB)
Covetousness = Wanting what we don’t have
Not being content with what we already have
You may not accept that coveting is a problem.? Here is the problem with coveting.? It’s not only the opposite of thankfulness:
- It gives us the wrong PURPOSE
We were built for more
It’s not what life is about
- It damages RELATIONSHIPS
Coveting destroys relationships
How many couples fight about money?
- It prevents HAPPINESS
- It’s only TEMPORARY
19“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. (Matthew 6)
21Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be. (Matthew 6)
It blinds us to the poor – to those in financial need.? It makes us think we’re in need.?
“In our minds, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but rather gratefulness that makes us happy.” (Albert Clark)
20% of the world’s population are on the brink of starvation.? 45% live on less than $2 a day.
16“O LORD our God, even these materials that we have gathered to build a Temple to honor your holy name come from you! It all belongs to you! (1 Chronicles 29:16)
4Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it. We may receive it gladly, with thankful hearts. 5For we know it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. (1 Timothy 4:4-5)
False Ascetism – the belief that matter is evil; leads to restrictions on marriage and food – belief that there’s virtue in not enjoying God’s gifts
It all belongs to God.? It’s not mine to covet or accumulate; it’s God’s.? I should neither own it, nor should it own me.? It’s God’s.
It’s all good.? There’s no credit for not enjoying it.
Our responsibility: to receive it gladly, with thankful hearts, through the Word of God and prayer.
Negative: What do I need to stop doing in order to be more grateful on a daily basis?
Positive: What do I need to start doing in order to be more grateful on a daily basis?