Someone once said, “A truly thankful person is one who feels he got more than he deserves.” If this is true, can a person be brave enough to pray, “Lord, would you give me just one more blessing?” What is this one additional blessing? First, let us think of all the gifts that God has given to us. They are far more than we deserve.
Think of our spiritual blessings. We have a Savior who grants us the forgiveness of our sins and walks with us through difficult days. He is the one who creates faith in our hearts to call on him. He wants to bring us into a personal relationship with him, which shows itself in a continuous conversation with him.
Think of the blessings we have in being a part of a family who cares for us. Last week’s newspaper told the story of a sixteen-year-old who was involved in a hit-and-run accident. The ten-year-old child he hit died instantly. The teenager was frightened, and had nowhere to turn. His mother deserted him when he was two weeks old. The grandmother who had raised him died of cancer. An alcoholic uncle had kicked him out of the house. He had no family. Finally he turned to a young lady who was his friend, since she was the closest to care for him in his time of need.
Compare that situation with the family in which you were raised. Your parental home might have left a lot to be desired, but there were always loved ones to whom you could go and find help. You knew what it was to be loved. This is a blessing from God.
Think of the physical blessings that are ours. When we are able to get up each morning and go on our way, God has blessed us. Did you ever awaken in the middle of the night and lie there for a few moments thinking about what was going to happen the next day? The next time that happens, let your mind take you to the hospitals of the world and imagine the thousands of people who are not able to sleep because of excruciating pain. Why are we so blessed, even as the body gets older and is not able to do what it once could? God has blessed us.
Why do we have all of the necessities of life, and many luxuries, while other parts of the world die of starvation? All of this is puzzling to many of us. We have the good fortune of being born in this blessed land where, most often, our stomachs are overfed, our minds are well educated, and our financial worth continues to increase. These are blessings that come from the hand of God.
With all these blessings can we pray, “Father, will you give me just one more blessing?” Yes, we need to pray for this extra blessing. God is anxious to give it to us. This is the blessing only He can grant us. Here it is, “Lord, give me a thankful heart.”
David, in Psalm 9:1, said, “I will praise you, Lord, with my whole heart.” The word heart in the Hebrew language is considered the seat of our whole being. David wants more than thankful lips where saying thank you is easy because it is a part of good etiquette. He wants a thank you that is genuine and comes from the seat of our emotions. This is when a husband says to his wife, “I love you with my whole heart.” That love is coming from his whole being. Because of this love, he will be faithful to her. He will always be concerned about her welfare.
The same is true with the words thank you. “I thank you with my whole heart,” reveals itself in our behavior. This kind of thank you calls the person to action. It is not conditioned by how life is treating us at a particular time. This Psalm was written during tough times. In verse nine, David reveals that he is oppressed in times of trouble. Yet he knows God walks with him, and thus he stops to say thank you, which shows itself in his actions.
As I was preparing this sermon, the newspaper reported that Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Senator John Edwards, had received some tough news. Not only had her husband lost the election to become the vice-president of the nation, but her physician had told her she suffered from a malignant tumor in her breast.
For this lady and her family to give thanks to God for his many blessings to her requires a thankful heart. How easy it would have been to say thank you if her husband had been victorious in the election and she was in perfect health. That could have been a very superficial thank you, the kind of thing that most people would want to do. However, now victory has been turned into defeat and health into sickness. I do not know the Edwards family, but I am sure it would have been a time when they would have prayed, “Lord, even though it has been a difficult day, please give me a thankful heart.”
A person with a thankful heart is easy to identify. He has a thankful spirit and personality. He is one who truly feels that he has received more than he deserves. He is not much of a complainer, and he does not feel that the world owes him a living. He does not believe that he has been cheated. He is one who is momentarily crushed at some shocking news, but give him a little time to adjust life and that thankful heart begins to show through his personality. He is the kind of person you want to be around.
As we end this Thanksgiving weekend, let us pray: Lord, give me one more blessing. Create in me a thankful heart that motivates me every day.