11/20/05, Thanksgiving and Pledge Sunday II

“God Loves a Cheerful Giver-Liver”
II Corinthian 9: 6-8

od loves a cheerful giver; one who lives a life of joy and gratitude.  The First Pilgrims, of nearly four-hundred years ago, gave God credit for all that they had. They were grateful. Don’t we love to surround ourselves with happy folks who love to give, not get, and who practice a giving attitude in their living?

 Why does everybody want to be around positive and happy folks who are also concerned about others? It’s simple; we hope that some of that positive attitude will rub off on us. Happy people make the world around them happy. These are the people who personnel recruiters go after to hire for the best jobs.  

But, can we change those who are sad and selfish? There is always hope in the Lord who made heaven and earth, and all of us. This is the reason that Thursday is a day of Prayer and Thanksgiving, proclaimed annually by our President. Prayer is the cell phone number where we can get in touch with God 24/7. But some will not call on God.

A man and his wife were sitting in the living room and he said to her,
"Just so you know, I never want to live in a vegetative state,
dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle.  If that ever
happens, just pull the plug."

His wife got up, unplugged the TV and threw out all of his beer.

 Yesterday’s “Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s” “Faith & Values” section contained a page of letters that people of faith had written as testimonials about God’s love and His intervention in their lives which in turn  has made them Thankful Cheerful Givers and Livers. Lydia Walker said that “God’s grace is the sum of everything for which I am grateful.” One woman was “grateful for the profound positive influence of her circle of women best friends who has changed her life. Another lady wrote about her new life which arose out of illness and other adversity. Anne began her letter by asking, “Can you really be thankful for cancer?” Obviously, she survived cancer and has become a victorious person.

You see, it’s not the problems of life that destroy us, but a negative attitude steals away our hope. Negativity can more easily overtake us whenever we are vulnerable and during adversity. Yet, as we survive we truly can have a deep sense of respect for the way God used adversity to make us stronger.

Of course, we will all die eventually, but those who live with the hope of heaven in their future will not be denied. The Good News always gives a guarantee of eternal life. I hope that all of you have come to know that our overwhelming sense of Christian joy and peace has its origin in Him.

And remember our thankful and grateful Pilgrim forefathers as we cut the turkey this Thursday.

Nearly all of the Pilgrims had buried family members during the cold New England winter. The Plymouth Colony has in a real sense become the religious forefathers of all Americans. Although most civilizations have had some manner of a celebration of Thanksgiving in gratitude to God for blessings, The Pilgrims, who stepped out of their tiny ship, The Mayflower, onto Plymouth Rock on the frigid Cape Cod Bay, where the ocean water is nearly freezing, even in summer, were beginning a tradition of worship that has come down to us nearly four-hundred years later. All who write about the Pilgrims, who were members of the Church of England, were seeking to establish the Christian Faith in this New World. They had given all they had in order to follow God’s leading, and they were a holy band. Not known for outward signs of joy, the 50% of Pilgrims that survived the fist winter were both thankful and determined to live in a way they believed to be right.

Although, we have become somewhat “at ease in Zion,” (Amos 6) we are still aware that a pleasant attitude is a by-product of our assurance of salvation and indwelling awareness of God’s Spirit at work within our lives.

God can help us become more grateful and giving during this Thanksgiving Season, but we have to want to overcome our vegetative state of spiritual and inertia by getting up off of the couch.

a sermon synopsis by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor
11/20/05, Thanksgiving and Pledge Sunday II