Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Grateful Heart

A Thanksgiving Sermon

Text: 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God (v. 11). 

Gratitude List

Have you noticed that we’re good at noticing the bad things that happen to us, but we often take the good things for granted? (We often say, “That’s just my luck!” thinking we have an unusual amount of bad luck.) A good practice (not just on Thanksgiving Day) is to make a list of the good things in our lives (i.e., a gratitude list). When we focus on the good things, our perspectives will change.

God Is a Giver

The song “Count Your Blessings” says, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.” But it shouldn’t surprise us. Why should we have grateful hearts? 

We should have grateful hearts because God has given to us an inexpressible gift. 

The apostle Paul concludes his section on giving by praising God for the gift he has given us: “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” (v. 15). Human words are unable to express how amazing God’s gift is. And what is God’s “inexpressible gift”? It is Jesus (and salvation through his death).

“God loves a cheerful giver” (v. 7) because God is a giver. “Every good and every perfect gift is from above” (James 1:17). “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16). God “did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all” (Rom. 8:32). People who see God as a taker don’t have grateful hearts.

The Benefits of a Grateful Heart

Being grateful has many benefits. In this passage, we see two benefits of having a grateful heart.

1. If we have grateful hearts, we will have generous hearts. 

Paul writes, “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way” (v. 11a). Notice that he says we are “enriched in every way” not merely so that we can have more but that we can give more (“to be generous in every way”). Of course, God doesn’t enrich us with only material blessings but also with spiritual blessings. “You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). Gratefulness for God’s grace produces generosity.

2. If we have generous hearts, others will have grateful hearts. 

Our generosity not only helps others; it also can result in people giving thanks to God. Paul says that the gift of money for the believers in Jerusalem “will produce thanksgiving to God” (v. 11b). Paul writes, “For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God” (v. 12). God is glorified when we give. And doesn’t God deserve to be glorified? He has given us an inexpressible gift!

Gaining by Giving

We often think of giving as losing something (e.g., losing money, time), but we should really view generous giving as a gain. What do we gain? The joy of helping others and glorifying God. But we won’t see giving as a gain unless we have grateful hearts.

Every child of God can write a long gratitude list, and at the top of the list is God’s inexpressible gift!

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