(A Thanksgiving Sermon preached to God of Grace Christian Fellowship, Inc., Maxwell Hotel, Escario St., Cebu City, last Nov. 30, 2014)
By Em Sumaway
12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.
13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”
14 So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.
17 So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?
18 “Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”
19 And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:11-19, NKJV)
Holidays sermons are the toughest sermons to preach. It tends to be clichéd, stereotyped, or plain boring. It’s those “I’ve-heard-that-already” type of sermons. Thanksgiving is also included in this list. We all know that we should be thankful—more so with Christians. Tell a Christian that he needs to be thankful and he will most likely return an “I-know-that” glare at you. But sermons are a good reminder of the key values which make our lives fulfilling before God. Even Christians tend to forget that. Let’s read through our text today and digest the lessons we can learn from it in relation to thanksgiving (Read Luke 17:11-19).
Why in the World?
A woman was hosting a dinner party and at the table she asked her six-year-old daughter to say grace. “But, I wouldn’t know what to say,” the girl responded. “Just say what you hear Mommy say,” replied the mother. The little girl nodded, bowed her head, and prayed, “Dear Lord, why in the world did I invite all these people to dinner?”
I think many of us can identify with that mother. The routine of keeping up with all of our responsibilities drains our energy. The pressure mounts and we get frustrated. We get tired. We get irritable. We look around the demands on us, and say, “Oh Lord, why in the world is this on my shoulders?”
We focus so much on the negative things that we fail to see the positive things. Then we end up complaining rather than giving thanks for the good things we already have. Sometimes we think that we can only be happy when things get “better” or if we get this or that. We fail to realize that the miracle of happiness is in being thankful for what you already have. Frank A. Clark is quoted saying, “If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.” Along the same line, Storm Jameson wisely stated, “For what I have received may the Lord make me truly thankful. And more truly for what I have not received.”
What’s Your Perspective?
The very quality of your life, whether you love it or hate it, is based upon how thankful you are toward God. It is one’s attitude that determines whether life unfolds into a place of blessedness or wretchedness. Indeed, looking at the same rose bush, some people complain that the roses have thorns while others rejoice that some thorns come with roses. It all depends on your perspective. This is the only life you will have before you enter eternity. If you want to find joy, you must first find thankfulness. Indeed, the one who is thankful for even a little enjoys much. But the unappreciative soul is always miserable, always complaining. He lives outside the shelter of the Most High God.
From our Gospel reading today, we learn some important lessons on thanksgiving. Let’s take a look at them.
 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version (Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1982).
 Rev. Russell B. Smith’s sermon, “Thanksgiving and Abundance,” IIIM Magazine Online, Volume 3, Number 33, August 13 to August 19, 2001.