Gratitude is not invisible. If I’m really grateful, it’s going to show.
NOVEMBER 24, 2022
Matt Heard: Gratitude is not invisible. If I’m really grateful, it’s going to show. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
Welcome to Key Life. If you’ve been trying to earn God’s approval, we invite you to hang out with us. Steve invited our friend Matt Heard to teach us all this week. Matt is a speaker, teacher, writer, pastor, coach, and the author of life with the Capital L.
Matt Heard: Thank you Matthew. And Happy Thanksgiving, not just to Matthew, but to all of you. And when we say those words, Happy Thanksgiving, it’s for those of us who are followers of Jesus and are authentically engaging with who God is and what he does, it takes on a lot more significance than just enjoying a great meal together, which is why we’re unpacking this week gratitude that’s grammatically correct. We’re talking about the grammar of gratitude. And when you hear that phrase, you wonder what in the world? And my high school English teacher especially would be saying that, not believing that I actually remember anything about grammar, but true gratitude the direct object. And so, today as you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, celebrate the one who gives the blessings for which we’re thankful. It’s directing our gratitude back to the one who actually gives the blessings. You know, the beauty of that amazing story about Jesus healing the 10 lepers in Luke chapter 17. Ten of them are healed, if you remember. And they all leave, they’re all excited, they’re all going about their way healed and one of them, verse 15 of Luke 17.
When he saw he was healed,
And then two pretty powerful words.
came back, praising God in a loud voice, and he threw himself at Jesus’ feet, and he thanked him.
He came back. You know, Thanksgiving is a day about coming back, about actually acknowledging, not just what our blessings are, but where our blessings come from. And picture yourself today as one of those who’s coming back and saying, Jesus, thank you. Now, the text that we’re letting guide us this week is from John chapter 4 in Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well, and he says in verse 23.
“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
And so, we’ve been taking that and letting it set the stage for an understanding of gratitude, of thanksgiving, of worship. It’s, God seeks our worship not from, because he has an ego. He doesn’t have an ego. He’s seeking our worship because that’s how he wired us to be men and women who are directing our worship. All of us are worshipers, every human being, wherever we are on the spiritual spectrum, the question is not whether we worship, but what we worship, who we worship. And the beauty of coming back into a relationship with God through Jesus as our worship gets realigned back to the true object of our worship. And so, instead of idolatry, that is demeaning, debilitating, addicting, and destructive. It’s a life giving alignment with the one who actually deserves my worship. So, what does it look like? This whole notion of worship. So, we’ve been spending Thanksgiving week, can’t think of a more appropriate week for us to be doing that. What does worship look like? The worship being kind of that umbrella under which gratitude and thanksgiving and adoration and all of those are parts of that, but worship according to what we’re using as a definition is our active, it’s not passive. It’s our active all of life response. So, it’s all of life, not just on Sundays or on Thanksgiving Day. It’s in every arena of our lives. It’s our active and our all of life response to the worth of who God is and the worth of what he does. And so, we’ve been keying off of that, looking at, all right, what does this response look like? It’s threefold, and we’re using the three words that Jesus used with that woman, the worship and spirit and truth. And so, that word truth reminds us that our worship involves recognizing God’s worth in our lives. It it involves the attention, paying attention with our minds. And in noticing, but there are a lot of people, especially in cerebral religious traditions, where that’s the limit of their worship. It just stays, Okay, we’ve got to get our theology right. Yes, true, but it needs to go even deeper than that, which is why he says.
We worship in truth, but also in spirit.
So, authentic worship, authentic thanksgiving involves me recognizing God’s worth, paying attention to the blessings of my life and the creation that God has placed me in. But it’s also resonating with his worth. It involves my heart. My heart savoring, tasting, ruminating, like that cow that chew the cud, kind of continuing to chew it, continuing to savor, continuing to taste. And when you have a very special meal, you tend to chew a little bit longer, something tastes really good and you’re paying attention to it, you’re resonating with it because it’s something that’s beautiful and it’s relevant to your delight. Well, there’s a third ingredient of that worship, that response that we have, and it’s not just recognizing it’s worth and resonating with it, it’s reacting to it’s worth. And here we come to that word worship. So, it involves my mind and my heart, but also my body, when I’m really thankful it will show. Some people talk about my worship is a private thing. No, it’s not, every word in Scripture, Hebrew and Greek dealing with worship, is bodily posture, bodily motions. The Old Testament words refer to things like bowing and crouching and falling down and beseeching and doing reverence. And the New Testament word, is to bow as an act of allegiance, to regard, to revere. There’s even a word that means to kiss towards, to honor, to pay homage. So, bottom line, worship, Biblically, it’s rooted in my body’s posture, my body, my visible actions. In other words, my whole person is being engaged. It’s all of my life, which is part of the beauty of Thanksgiving because Thanksgiving involves us hitting the pause button to actually do something that conveys our gratitude. Now, over time, we’ve lost the direct object, it’s become a thing about just being grateful, but not directing that gratitude towards anyone. And the focus becomes more on the meal and the people that we’re with and those are wonderful things, but for me to truly experience the dance of Thanksgiving, is directing my worship back to the one who’s the source of all the blessings of my life, and understanding that if I’m grateful, it’s going to show in the way that I’m responding, the way that I’m living my life, Romans 12:1 and 2.
Therefore, Paul says, I urge you brothers.
And that word therefore applies to the previous 11 chapters in which he’s described this incredible grace and truth and work of God in Jesus, he says.
I urge your brothers and sisters in view of God’s mercy in the context of the grace of God to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.
This is your spiritual act of worship.
Don’t conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, then you’ll be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, his pleasing, his perfect will.
He says, Your spiritual act of worship is something that will involve your body. It will involve your life. It’ll involve your lifestyle. That’s what Jesus is referring to, and he says, The most important commandment in Mark 12:29.
Is the Lord our God. The Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, with all your strength.
Thanksgiving is not just a private thing. It’s not just a passive thing. It’s not just an internal thing. When we’re thankful, it changes the way that we do our relationships. It changes the way that we live our lives. That’s why the Psalmist talks about.
Glorify the Lord with me. Let’s exalt his name together.
Let’s just don’t do it apart. So, let’s get together in community and acknowledge his worth that in all of our lives, whether we’re eating and drinking or whatever we’re doing, as we’ve talked about about from I Corinthians 10, we’re doing it all for the glory of God. We’re doing it all in a posture of thanksgiving. So, as we’re relating, as we’re working, as we’re studying, as we’re playing, as we’re partying, as we’re grieving, as we’re struggling, as we’re dreaming, as we’re resting, as we’re thinking, as we’re creating, as we’re enjoying, as we’re walking in wonder, we’re thankful. And so, our gratitude is not just for Thanksgiving table or worship service. It’s going to involve every arena of our journey and every page of our story. And that’s when we become healthy human beings to the glory of God. Oliver Wendell Holmes, he was the father of the great lawmaker. He was a poet back in the 19th century, and he said.
Alas for those that never sing, but die with all their music in them.
If there’s a Thanksgiving encouragement that I could give to you, is resolve today to make sure that you live the rest of your life letting that music of gratitude out. Don’t die with the music of praise still in you. And as a result, I hope you thrive today.
Thank you Matt Heard. What a great week of teaching on gratitude, the right word at the right time. If you missed any of Matt’s episodes, then be sure to visit us at Keylife.org to stream those for free. And Steve will return tomorrow along with our friend Pete Alwinson for Friday Q&A. Do not miss that. Well, I am admittedly not good at math, but by my calculations, Christmas is just about a month from today. And we are so excited to bring you a special free gift from Key Life. It’s a free booklet called Christmas Meditations. It’s a newly reprinted collection of Steve’s writings on the real meaning of Christmas, the Incarnation of God in Christ. The booklet also includes Scripture and devotional questions, to help you focus and reflect on the impact of Christ’s coming. Get it now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that booklet. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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