Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

Reasons to be Thankful

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

29th April 2012

A visiting preacher to a small country church delivered a sermon on "Gratitude." At the conclusion of the sermon, when an offering was to be taken up for him, he said, "And remember, however small the gift, always be grateful and thankful to the Lord."

Well, the offering was taken up, using the preacher's hat as a 'collection plate.' When the hat came back to him, the preacher looked inside: It was empty! Seeing this, the congregation watched carefully to see if he would practice the words about "gratitude" which he'd just preached. He thought for a moment, and then prayed, "Dear Lord, I thank thee that I got my hat back!"

Being a thankful person is not always easy. As a matter of fact, it is contrary to our fallen nature and requires all the resources that Christ gives us.

Notice what it says in Colossians 3:15,

‘Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful’.

This verse has three components. It talks about the peace of God, being part of the body, and being thankful. All these truths are connected, and from this verse we can glean three reasons to be thankful.

1. You can't be peaceful if you're not being thankful

Peace and ingratitude cannot dwell together. There is something about the nature of ingratitude that keeps a person from being filled with the peace of God.

Here we are told that peace is to rule in our hearts. The word "rule" in this verse means to serve as an umpire. The Holy Spirit cannot release peace to us when we are living out of bounds. And being full of ingratitude is outside the boundaries of God's will for us. There are no benefits that come with ingratitude.

If you think about it, when we are being ungrateful, it is a sure sign that we are not at peace with our place in the world. We are not at peace with how God is caring for us. We are not at peace with our "lot" in life.

2. You can't be in unity if you're not being thankful

Paul writes that collectively we are called to live in unity as a body. Yet it is difficult for grateful people to walk in unity with people who are ungrateful.

We really have two choices: We will be focusing on God's goodness, blessings, and all that He has done for us. Or, we will be constantly complaining about what has not yet happened, what He has not done yet, or what others are not doing, or what the government is not doing, and on and on it goes.

3. You can't be who your suppose to be if you're not being thankful

Paul tags two little but powerful words to the end of verse 15 ‘be thankful’. It is not a suggestion he is making. It is a charge to live a thankful life. Being thankful means that we are full of thanksgiving. There is always something to thank God for in every situation. We can thank God regardless of the situation. That doesn’t mean we have to be thankful for the situation, but we can still thank God in the situation.

The following statement bears reflection: "Do not grumble because you do not get what you want; be thankful you do not get what you deserve!" This is so true isn't it? What God has already done should be sufficient for us to be grateful for eternity.

If a recording had been taken of every word you have spoken, every thought you have had, and interpreted every bodily response to every situation you have encountered over the last month, would such a record convince a jury that you truly a person who lives a life filled with thanksgiving? Or would you be convicted of being an ungrateful person?

Perhaps an even harder question is: What is my first response when faced with difficulty? Am I thankful or unthankful?

May God help us to get to the place where we quickly go and thank God for what we do have instead of what we don't have. How that would help us to see that God is still in charge and will take care of us.

A lawyer had successfully handled a difficult law case for a wealthy friend. Following the happy outcome of the case, the friend called on the lawyer, expressed his appreciation of his work and handed him a handsome Moroccan leather wallet.

The lawyer looked at the wallet in astonishment and handed it back with a sharp reminder that a wallet could not possibly compensate him for his services. "My fee for that work is £500." The client opened the wallet, removed a cheque for £1,000, replaced it with a cheque for £500 and handed it back to the lawyer with a smile.

How many blessings we forfeit because our hearts are not right and we are not thankful to God.

Have a good week being thankful for all God has given us.

Pastor Barry

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