Waynedale United Methodist Church
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

November 5, 2017 Sermon

“Give Thanks With Your Whole Heart!”
1 Chronicles 16:1 -4, 7 – 13, 34 – 36

Ted Jansen  November 5, 2017  Waynedale UMC

 

1.)        Give thanks with your whole heart.  That is what we see one day in the life of King David.  King David was thankful and wanted to make sure that all the people of Israel were a thankful people.  We see this demonstrated in what happened to David when the Ark of the Covenant was brought into Jerusalem.       

            David was so happy he danced and was filled with joy.  There was a celebration with food and sacrificing and David blessing the people. (In 1 Chronicles 16:2)  David blessed the people because he was thankful for the Ark of the Covenant.  

This Ark of the Covenant symbolized the presence of God in their lives.   When David had the assurance and conviction that God was with the people it gave him joy and a thankful heart.  David decided to do more than have a party. 

 

2.)        David out of joy and a thankful heart shared his priority for the people.  The first thing he did was having the Levites, who were in charge of the worship of the people, to focus on petitions, thanks and praise.   “He appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to make petition, to give thanks and to praise the Lord.”  (1 Chronicles 16:4)    Their job, their focus for their lives is to give thanks, along with prayer and praise. 

            We read in verse 5 that Asaph was the chief, the key person to see that this was done.  They were to offer prayers, offer thanks, and offer praise.  (As we understand the sacrifices in their worship that were an expression of confession or apology we could say they were following the Prayer PATH model. Praise, Apology, Thanks, Help.)  

            Then David created a prayer, a Psalm so that the Levites, and Asaph, could use.  Listen to 1 Chronicles 16:7, 8 “That day David first committed to Asaph and his associates this psalm of thanks to the Lord.  Give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known among the nations what he had done.”    The first five words are, “give thanks to the Lord.”   

We read at the end of this prayer the invitation to offer thanks and praise is a part of this psalm in 1 Chronicles 16:34 – 36.  “Give thanks to the Lord, for he his good, his love endures forever.  Cry out, save us, o God our Savior, gather us and deliver us from the nations that we may give thanks to your holy name, that we may glory in your praise.  Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting.”

 

3.)        God wants us to give thanks.  When we do this with our whole heart we are in worship, regardless of our location.  Worship is thanks, wherever we are.   You worship when you are thankful.  Our hearts are able to be filled up with blessing when we are thankful.    

Consider this balloon.  What is it filled with?  It is filled with air when you blow it up.  The air can be our thankfulness.  When the balloon is filled with air, it is like being filled with thanks, there is no room for the negative, or complaints.  The whole heart, like an entire balloon is filled.    

You can fill your heart, your mind, your spirit with negative things if you choose.  When you are filled with the negative it seems that all you are aware of is the negative.  Your brain and spirit looks for the negative and dwells on this.  To get rid of the negative you have to get rid of those thoughts, like letting out all of the air in the balloon.  Then you begin filling your heart with thanks. It is a choice we make each day, and in each moment. 

I know that when I get negative I notice more of the bad in life.  When I am thankful I am aware of more good things.         

 

4.)        You have a choice on what you want to express.  You can complain and let the negative fill your heart, or you can give thanks and receive joy. 

            I want to try an experiment.  I want you to complain out loud about the outdoor temperature being too hot or too cold.  How does that make you feel?  

            Now, I want you to offer thanks that it is great to worship God, and the fact that we are loved by God.  How does that make you feel?     

 

5.)        Each of you have a heart that symbolizes your life.  I want you to write at least one thing on that heart that you are thankful for.   We will collect them and put them around our building as a sign of our hearts.     

This act is our worship of God.  When you offer your thanks you are helping another person, because you made a choice to not focus on the negative.  As you are thankful another person will benefit from your attitude.  That’s how it works. 

     

6.)        The human need to express gratitude seems to be a powerful and almost universal phenomenon. But why?  That’s exactly what Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D, a psychology professor at the University of California, Davis, and author of Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity, set out to discover.

            Emmons is one of the pioneers of research into the ways that gratitude affects our lives. To assess people’s levels of thankfulness, Emmons and his colleague Michael E. McCullough created a questionnaire that allowed them to compare “grateful people” to those who were less so. They also found ways to cultivate gratitude in test subjects — keeping a “gratitude journal,” counting one’s blessings, writing letters of thanks — then studied the changes that occurred as a result.

The results of his studies and others — both psychological and physiological — are fascinating. Here, five reasons why giving thanks is actually good for you.

Counting blessings boosts your health. Emmons’ and McCullough’s research showed that grateful people had less depression and stress, lower blood pressure, more energy, and greater optimism.
            Slow down the aging clock. In older adults, Emmons and McCullough found, a daily practice of gratitude even slowed down some of the effects of neurodegeneration that often occurs as we age.
            Put the brakes on stress. Cortisol is often called the “stress hormone,” and when our bodies produce too much, it can deplete the immune system and raise blood sugar levels. A study conducted at the Institute of HeartMath Research Center in California found that positive emotions like appreciation significantly lowered levels of cortisol.

Being thankful helps you bond. Research by U.S. psychologists Sara Algoe and Baldwin Way indicates that gratitude also can lead to better relationships. The explanation may be connected to increased production of oxytocin, sometimes called the “bonding hormone” because it fosters calm and security in relationships.

Gratefulness = good for the heart and waistline? According to research Emmons cites in his book Gratitude Works!, people with high blood pressure who actively express thankfulness “can achieve up to a 10 percent reduction in systolic blood pressure and decrease their dietary fat intake by up to 20 percent.”

 

7.)        King David appointed Asaph to be the Levite who would help the people remember to give thanks.  Jesus gave thanks in the Upper Room as He celebrated the Passover with the disciples.  Jesus wanted the disciples and all His followers not to dwell on negative but to focus on the positive, the love of God.  God’s salvation and love has come to the world in the life of Jesus and his death and resurrection.  This is great news to remember.       

            When Jesus took the bread and the wine He gave thanks.  Jesus wanted all to remember the thankfulness of His heart.  Thanking God was vital to David and Jesus.     

 

8.)        As we remember Jesus and His love may we understand that the Greek word for “thanks” is eucharisteo.        

Ann Voskamp, author, shared that this word, eucharisteo, comes right out of the Gospel of Luke: “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them …” (Luke 22:19 NIV).

The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning “grace.” Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis, but it also holds the Greek word chara, meaning “joy.” Charis. Grace. Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving. Chara. Joy.

Deep chara joy is found at the table of the euCHARisteo; the table of thanksgiving. One of Christ’s very last directives He offers to His disciples is to take the bread, the wine, and to remember. Do this in remembrance of Me. Remember and give thanks.

This is the crux of Christianity: to remember and give thanks, eucharisteo.  Why? Why is remembering and giving thanks the core of the Christ-faith? Because remembering with thanks is what causes us to trust; to really believe. Re-membering, giving thanks, is what makes us a member again of the body of Christ. Re-membering, giving thanks is what puts us back together again in this hurried, broken, fragmented world.

 

9.)        I like that word Re-membering in Ann’s writing.  Re-membering teaches us some vital truths.  It reminds us in Communion that Jesus Christ paid the price so that we could be membered with Him in a personal relationship. 

Re-membering reminds us that we are members of one another.  We are the Body of Christ as believers in Him.  When we give thanks we get connected to one another.  We are members, connected by our hearts.   You will know that you are a part of a group of people when your heart is connected in some meaningful way.     

Re-membering reminds us that we were created to be a thankful people.  When we give thanks we allow God to put our spirit back together in the way God desires it to be.  We are not meant to be complainers and focusing on the negative.       

We want and we need the Lord, each other, and for our hearts to be made whole as we offer our thanksgiving.  What are you thankful for?  

            As you answer that questions listen to the Choir/Praise Band sing “Give Thanks.”