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Two Words for Thanksgiving

Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today."


My friends, I have two words of advice for you as we begin Thanksgiving week: Don't worry! Of course, those are Jesus' words, not mine. But, good words they are.

Nothing kills a thankful spirit quicker than worrying. I know. I have spent my entire life worrying; and it has done no tangible good, but some harm. Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.

If it's true we are what our most cherished thoughts make us; then we're not available for giving thanks if our thoughts are laden with anxiety. It's hard to give thanks if we're running around like a squirrel when the acorns first come out. Don't worry! That means, for example, don't worry about the past. You probably did the best you could under the circumstances of knowledge and experience. Learn the lessons of your failures; then forgive yourself, forgive others, and move on.

Also, don't worry about things which may happen but which you have no control. That is a waste of valuable energy and time. If you are worried about something, do what you can, forget it, and move on.

That is in essence what Jesus says to us today - two words: Don't worry! That may be the shortest sermon ever preached on a Sunday before Thanksgiving. I could end here.

But since you're already here, let me briefly give some advice that flow from these two words of Jesus which can make this Thanksgiving better for all of us.

First, get rid of perfectionism. It's a devil in disguise. It only causes headaches and stomach ulcers.

Secondly, enjoy your work. Satisfaction comes from making a contribution to others and to the world. Creativity is one of God's greatest gifts to all of us in our lives. But don't rush your work. There will always be work left undone. Everyone leaves unfinished business.

Thirdly, be not envious of other people. There will always be people with skills better and worse than you. The race in life is always with yourself. To compare yourself with others is a waste of mental and emotional energy.

Fourthly, don't degrade your own value as a person. You are too close to the subject. Chances are you're making a more good for the world than you think. Lincoln certainly never knew the value of his accomplishments.

But don't degrade others either. See no one through the eyes of race, or color, or religion, or gender, or nationality. Dividing human beings into races is a myth. We are all human beings - no more, no less - part of one family of God.

Fifthly, do not worry about the meaning of life. You create meaning by the way your react to life situations, and the good you bring out of tragedy. It was the mother of a drunk driving victim who created MADD - Mothers Against Drunk Driving which has saved many lives. You are what you make of your own life.

Whatever your material worth, recognize they are just material goods. One day they will belong to someone else. Your greatest gift is the person sitting next to you. So be bold enough to be kind to strangers and to the ones you love.

Be cheerful and imaginative. Read a good novel. Listen to good music. Walk in nature. Nothing stirs your thoughts better. All of these incite imagination; imagination incites awe; and awe enables us to worship God and to enjoy the wonder of life.

Did you ever hear the story about the baby who clapped hands? She would clap her hands over everything that came her way. Shove cereal in front of her face, and she would clap her hands. Sit toys in front of her, and she would clap her hands. Her parents took her to the seashore and she clapped at the rolling waves. Are the parents concerned? No, their only concern, they say, is that one day she will stop clapping. Is it not the same with us? Too soon we stop clapping at life, and we start worrying about it. (David G. Buttrick)

Don't worry! Trust Jesus on that advice. Worrying will only ruin any chance you have of being thankful to God. Amen!

(Copyright 2017 by Jack Hughes Robinson. Use by permission only.)



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