“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
Sometimes we forget to be thankful.
Read some of these statistics from Greg Easterbrook's book The Progress Paradox:
*Life expectancy has nearly doubled in the last 100 years.
*Real capital outcome doubled since 1960.
*Price of foods and durable goods have stayed the same or declined.
*Standard of living has risen to a plae our own great grandparents could not have imagined.
*Number of people who say they are happy has not increased since 1950.
*Number of people who say they are "very happy" has declined.
*25% increase in depression.
*7% of Americans say they have at least one period of debilitating depression yearly.
We don't even know how good we have it.
Intentionally cultivate a heart of thankfulness.
#1 Change of Focus from what I don't have to what I do have.
Greed is the opposite of gratefulness.
"Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." 1 Timothy 6:9-10
They want God to serve them. They don't get it. It's not about getting what you want. It's about loving and serving God.
"But godliness with contentment is great gain." 1 Timothy 6:6
Greed dulls our appetite for God.
This is a life choice (gratefulness) -- to focus on God and be grateful.
#2 Change our focus from getting a blessing to being a blessing.
The only way to find meaning in our lives is to have a purpose in being used by and serving and loving God.
Often, the more we get the more we want. Then we hoard. Our worth is not based on $.
People in poverty often give more than wealthy people.
Unless we are being used by God we will not be content. An unbroke, untrained horse is not happy.
"Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:39
-- No one had more right to be served, yet He chose the life of a servant. We are meant to serve.
"Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”" Mark 10:43-45
Jesus and the demon-possessed man: This was man was out of control, wild man. Once healed he wanted to go with Jesus. But Jesus understood his healing was not complete. He said to him:
"Then all the people of the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave them, because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and left.The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him." Luke 8:37-39
His healing would be complete when he was serving Jesus by proclaiming what God had done for him.
#3 Change our focus to servanthood.
"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24
We find identity in the job we do. It doesn't matter what we do, we can do it for Jesus.
"The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’" Matthew 25:40
#4 Change our focus from earth to eternity.
If the world is all we have we have nothing but despair. It all means nothing in the end if you just live for this life.
"If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied." 1 Corinthians 15:19
We serve a God who has overcome the world. God wants the best for us.
"All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth." Hebrews 11:13
"Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." Hebrews 11:16
#5 Focus our eyes on Jesus.
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;" 2 Corinthians 4:8
"speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Ephesians 5:19-20
#6 A Change of Mindset.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:6-8
It doesn't matter what's going on. You can be thankful. Live the life you were meant to live.
"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19