“Thanksgiving is the key to abundant living,” said Paul McDonald, interim pastor of Christian Chapel, Columbia, MO. “Never allow what’s wrong with you keep you from worshiping what’s right with God. Take an extraordinarily difficult day and turn it into thanksgiving to God.”
In the book, Behind Sunday Smiles, it says one out of every eight church-goers is struggling with a life-controling issue. “Behind every smile there is a story,” McDonald said. “Life is not just about bad days, there are a whole lot of ordinary days, too. There are also delightful days. We can experience all three in one day. Still, every day, we can experience the abundant life of Jesus Christ.”
McDonald pointed out that Mark 14:22-23 uses the words eulogeo and eucharisteo for giving thanks. It comes from “eu” which means well (as used in eulogeo which means well words), “charis” which means grace, and “chara” which means joy. Therefore giving thanks opens up your life to more grace and joy.”
“Is there anything more ordinary than bread?” McDonald explained. Jesus gives thanks for an ordinary thing. This is his 33rd Passover, an ordinary feast for a Jewish man. Yet, this is an extraordinarily difficult Passover. He knows what’s coming.
Jesus tells his disciples the bread is a symbol of his broken body, a body which will be crucified, very shortly, according to McDona,d. He knows the betrayal is coming, but also the night of agony praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, the beating he will receive, his death on a cross.
“This is an extraordinarily difficult time in the life of Jesus Christ and yet he gives thanks because he knows thanksgiving always precedes the miracle,” McDonald added. “All of God’s workings sprout in the soil of gratefulness.”
The following are questions to use in discussing the sermon.
What does it mean to have an ordinary Sunday service? Is that all right? Should we always expect extraordinary services? What is the beauty of ordinary?
John 10:10 How can we experience the abundant life of Jesus Christ every day?
John 11:41-42 What did Jesus do prior to the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead?
John 6:11 What did Jesus do prior to the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000? Why do you think he did this?
Luke 17:16-19 What is the significance of the leper who came back to thank Jesus for his healing?
Matthew 11:25 What has just happened prior to this verse? Why is it important to give thanks in the face of criticism?
Romans 1:18-21 How does refusing to give thanks shut down revelation?
1 Timothy 4:4-5 What do you think these verses mean regarding some things that Christians consider secular?
Why should we pray before meals?
Psalm 50:23 What does this verse mean to you? Do you think the opposite of this verse is also true?
What does Psalm 50 say to those who have religious motions down pat but do not have a thankful heart?
What does having a thankful heart look like?
What is the one thing that we own that we can offer to God? How do we do that?
How can we set aside the difficult things we are going through and focus on God?
How is thankgsiving the key to living abundantly?
How can we experience a new song of revelation in thanksgiving to God?