Pouring It Out

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In this message we dive into the twelfth chapter of John which begins in a very seasonally appropriate way with a Thanksgiving dinner. This Sunday we’ll be studying verses 1-8 of John 12 and thinking deeply about the nature of Christian Thanksgiving. One thing is for sure, a quick survey of all the Bible says on the subject reveals that God often commands His people to thank Him. Why do you think God command us to thank Him? I mean, if I gave you a gift and then immediately demanded that you thank me for it wouldn’t you think I was a tad self-absorbed and also kind of a jerk? So, one of the questions that is central to a Biblical understanding of Thanksgiving is this- “Is Thanksgiving something that is done for the benefit of God, or is Thanksgiving given and commanded by God for our benefit?” I mean…God commands it…but why? Does he need our thanks or is giving thanks what we need? As we study the nature of Christian Thanksgiving I think we’ll see that God commands our gratitude so that OUR JOY MIGHT BE FULL. We need it! And because He is a good God, who wants us to be full of joy and satisfaction, and because He knows that our fallen, sin-clouded hearts are easily swayed, He commands us to give Him thanks so that our hearts might be steadied and focused on our only chance at lasting happiness, joy and satisfaction- Himself. God’s many commandments to give Him thanks are similar, I think, to a parent’s warnings to their children not to go off with strangers. When Sarah and I take our kids somewhere we often times tell them “stay where we can see you.” The command to give thanks is similar, but slightly different. It is God’s way of saying not “stay where I can see you,” but rather “stay where you can see me.” Don’t be lured off. Don’t stray and get lost. Give thanks, keep your eyes on me.