A Living Thanksgiving

A Living Thanksgiving

Embark on a transformative exploration in ‘A Living Thanksgiving,’ where the narrative of the Ten Lepers unfolds, revealing the dynamics of gratitude. Investigate the reasons behind ingratitude and learn to overcome them by understanding God as the benevolent Giver. Delve into the profound impact of gratitude on relationships and be equipped to release entitlement, doubt, apathy, and pride. Join us on a journey of cultivating a perpetual attitude of thanksgiving that echoes God’s grace in our lives.

I. Introduction

  • Thanksgiving: A time to reflect on gratitude and its opposite, entitlement

II. The Story of the Ten Lepers (Luke 17:11-19)

  • Exploring the possible reasons behind only one leper returning to give thanks
    • Entitlement: “You owe me”
    • Doubt: “I don’t trust you”
    • Apathy: “I don’t care”
    • Pride: “I don’t need you”

III. The Power of Gratitude in Relationships

  • Acknowledging and expressing gratitude for gifts received
    • Remember – gifts are given as a free-will expression of love and care
    • The possible reasons for ingratitude all stem from a rejection of the relationship
    • Personal – being young and “thank you” notes for gifts
  • Understanding the reciprocity of gratitude: Building healthy relationships
    • Recognizing the heart behind the gift opens us to a deeper more meaningful relationship with the Giver
  • Paying it forward: Blessing others from a grateful heart
    • Understanding that giving to others unconditionally makes us vulnerable opens us up to possible rejection but even greater blessings of sparking joy and fostering relationship

IV. The Recognition of Need

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit: Recognizing our dependency on God (Matthew 5:3)
  • Reflecting on Job’s words: Naked we came and naked we shall depart (Job 1:21)
  • Understanding the temporality of our possessions and achievements (Luke 12:13-21)

V. God as the Giver of All Things

  • Every good and perfect gift comes from above (James 1:17-18)
  • Acknowledging that we are owed nothing, but rather recipients of God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • The ultimate gift: eternal life through Christ (Romans 6:23)

VI. Letting Go of Entitlement, Doubt, Apathy, and Pride

  • Overcoming entitlement: Recognizing blessings amidst challenges and disappointments (Job 1:21)
  • Releasing doubt: Choosing trust in God’s purposes, provision, and plan (Proverbs 3:5-6)
  • Empathy over apathy: Looking out for others (Philippians 2:3-4)
  • Humility over pride: Accepting our need for God and others (Proverbs 30:8b-9, Matthew 7:13-14, Matthew 5:3)

VII. Conclusion

Call to Action:

As we reflect on the message of cultivating a heart of gratitude, let us examine our own lives and attitudes. Are we living with a sense of entitlement, feeling owed by others and even by God? Are we harboring doubt, resentment, or pride that hinder our ability to truly be thankful? Let us surrender these negative attitudes and embrace a spirit of gratitude, recognizing that all good things come from God. May we express our gratitude to Him and to others, and may we be inspired to bless those in need without expecting anything in return. Let us live lives marked by gratitude, reflecting the Gospel message of God’s grace and love.

As we prepare to sit at the Thanksgiving table with family, friends, and loved ones, let us remember:

Colossians 3:15-17 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”