I’ve got a question for you. Is your gratitude grammatically correct?
NOVEMBER 21, 2022
Matt Heard: I’ve got a question for you, is your gratitude grammatically correct? Let’s unpack that a bit here on Key Life.
This is Key Life. We’re here to let you know that because of what Jesus has done, God will never be angry at you again. Steve invited our friend Matt Heard to do the teaching this week. Matt is a speaker, teacher, writer, pastor, coach, and the founder of a ministry called Thrive.
Matt Heard: Thank you Matthew. And I hope you all had a great week-end and you’re gearing up for an impactful week for you and for your family, for your friends, and your relationships. This is usually a big week where people gather to celebrate, yes Thanksgiving. They do it together, and whether you’re going to be doing it together or alone, I’d like to walk with you a bit this week and let’s talk a little bit about this whole notion of gratitude and thanksgiving and worship. But before we do, I’d like to acknowledge who the real teacher is, and this is always the case here on Key Life. So, let’s talk to him. Let’s pray. Jesus, thank you. Thank you that you’re here. Wherever here is to anybody listening right now, you’re present. That blows us away in terms of our finite human understanding of space limitations, yet you’re omnipresent. And you’re also omniscient. You not only are everywhere, but you know all that’s going on in our journey. Some of us are riding high, we’re on top of the waves. Others of us are underneath the wave a bit and getting pummeled against the rocks maybe. And I want to thank you that you’ve gathered us all together through this gift of technology, to talk about a primary role that we have as your people, as you’re human beings, as your image bearers. This whole notion of being grateful, of worshiping, of being thankful. And so, I ask that you would inhabit the time, inhabit our hearts, enable us to authentically be engaging with our journeys while we’re also authentically engaging with the grace and the truth of Jesus. And I pray this in the name of the one who is way and who is truth, but who’s also life. Amen. So, this whole notion of grammar, plays a role in a week like this. Whenever I hear people at Thanksgiving talking about how grateful they are, it’s incredible how seldom a direct object is included. Now, I, my English teacher from high school would be so proud of me that I remember what a direct object is. But you know, let’s back up a little bit. You know grammar, grammar is those rules of language that enable us to put words together, to have meaning. And in this whole realm of grammar, there’s a little thing called a direct object, took me a while to get, but I never forgot it. And I actually looked it up again on dictionary.com and it says.
A direct object is a word or group of words representing the person or thing upon which the action of a verb is performed or toward which it is directed.
All right, let’s take that to this whole notion, especially in a Thanksgiving week, of being thankful, of being grateful. The question is begged when we say we’re thankful, what’s the direct object of that thankfulness? To whom is my gratitude being directed? And a lot of people say, Well, I just want to be thankful. Now, the meaning of the word implies that there is someone or something that has provided something, in order for me to be thankful. And people say, Well, now I’m thankful for, and they fill in the blank of whatever it is they’re thankful for. I can’t be thankful for my chocolate milkshake. I’ve got to be thankful for whoever gave me the chocolate milkshake. I can’t be thankful just for my health, and I’m not directing my gratitude towards my health. I’m directing my gratitude somewhere else, for my health. So, I know you’re going to sleep better tonight knowing that you’ve had this kind of refresher in grammar, but more than that, I’m hoping that you begin to grapple with this grammatically correct gratitude in such a way that it fulfills you as a human being and as a follower of Jesus. The text we’re going to unpack throughout the week as we’re learning a bit more about this or being reminded of it, is from John chapter 4. And I don’t know if you remember or not, but it’s the story that’s known as the woman at the well. Jesus was traveling intentionally, traveling through Samaria. People there in Samaria didn’t feel like they were liked by the Jews, and that was correct. So, this woman that approaches him and that he approaches her, she comes to the well in the middle of the day, and that’s a little bit odd because they would typically come to the well, early in the morning or late in the evening, but she had been ostracized by her community and the reason was very simple. She had been married five times, and the guy she’s living with now, isn’t even her husband. And so, she comes to be alone, that Jesus is there, he strikes up a conversation about her thirst. We’ve talked about that a little bit before. This whole notion of what are you thirsty for? And Jesus engages her and invites her to engage with her thirst, that goes deep. And he concludes it starting with verse 13, he says.
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
So, this thirsty woman finally is saying, Okay, I’ll at least engage a little bit with this guy. I don’t, he’s starting to show himself to be credible, so she says.
Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water. And he told her. Go call your husband and come back. I have no husband, she replied. And Jesus said to her. You’re right when you say you have no husband, the fact is you’ve had five husbands and the man you now have is not your husband. What you’ve just said is quite true.
Now, at that point there are a lot of legalistic, religious folks who would say, that a boy Jesus, and every time I see this text, I think of that cause they’re thinking that he’s shaming. No, he wasn’t shaming her for all of these husbands and failed marriages, whatever the cultural context was, he was simply inviting her to engage with what she had been relying on most to fulfill her thirst. Well, him bringing up all of her husbands made her a little bit uncomfortable, and so she says in verse 19.
Sir, the woman said, I can see that you’re a prophet, our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we may worship is in Jerusalem. Woman, Jesus replied, Believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship, what you do not know we worship, what we do know for salvation is from the Jews.
All right, now, here we go. I want you to latch on to these next two statements.
He says, Yeah, a time is coming and has now come, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. And the woman said, I know that Messiah called Christ coming and when he comes, he’ll explain everything to us. And then Jesus declared, I the one speaking to you. I am he.
Do you see what’s been going on there? So, they’re having this conversation that Jesus initiated about this woman’s thirst. She begins to say, Okay, I’ll listen. And then he brings up the husbands and the failed marriages. And what he was doing is using words like a surgeon would use a scalpel and he’s honing in on something that she had been relying on for her ultimate fulfillment. And he’s wanting to bring up that she needs something more than just men and marriage, but she’s uncomfortable with that whole thing. So, she thinks she’s changing the subject and brings up the whole notion of, Hey, you’re a prophet, let’s talk about worship. That was a big point of debate between the Samaritans and the Jews, and. Jesus engages with that whole subject of worship, but what she doesn’t know is that it wasn’t a change of subject. Jesus has been talking about worship all along, this whole notion of worship, a lot of people think that it’s just church people that worship, every one of us worships, the question is what we worship, who we worship. And so, this whole notion of understanding what will fulfill our ultimate longings has a lot to do with what we’re worshiping. The ancient English word weordhscipe is where we get worship from. So, I worship what I attribute as worthy and what I attribute as worth are those things or that person that has provided X, Y, and Z for me. And what Jesus is saying is that God is seeking men and women to direct their worship where it actually belongs. That’s what we’ve been made for. Ephesians chapter 1: verse 11 and 12, Paul says.
In Christ, we were also chosen having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we who are the first to hope in Christ might be for the praise of his glory.
So, we’re not just made to worship, we’re saved to be restored into that reason that we’ve been made. And it’s to be men and women who are thankful, not just one week a year in this nebulous I’m thankful, but I don’t know who I’m thankful for. It’s every week of the year, every day of the week we’re thankful and we direct that gratitude in a grammatically correct way to the one who made us, who sustains us, and who blesses us. I hope you have a thankful day and is a result. I hope you thrive.
Thank you Matt. That was our friend Matt Heard teaching us today about gratitude and great news, Matt will be here all week and we are indeed grateful for that. So, when I see the word evangelical, what image comes to mind for you? Is it something positive, something negative? Well, without question that word has picked up some baggage over the years, and it begs the question, should that label be discarded or defended? Well, that’s the question we discussed with author Michael Reeves on Steve Brown Etc. It was a fascinating conversation about the gospel at the crossroads of modern day culture and politics. And if it’s cool with you, we would love to send you that whole show on a CD, for free. Just call us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE. That’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. If you’d like to mail your request, send it to
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