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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Turkey Day Eve

Hello all you ingrates. You are ungrateful, aren't you? Sure you are. So am I. You don't really pause to offer thanks for the blessings you have from God, do you? Not like you should. No, it's much more likely that you complain, you whine, and you feel sorry for yourself. So do I. When good thing happen to you, you may remember to say a cursory "thank God" in your prayers, but you really think that you had it coming. And when bad things happen to you, you act all surprised. You say it's unfair. At least you think it. When bad things happen to you, you see-saw back and forth between self-pity and outrage. That's because in your heart of hearts, you believe that YOU should be immune from suffering. You don't deserve to bear God's wrath or the effects of your sins. And when bad things do happen, you don't give thanks. You are not thankful in all things as Scripture exhorts. No, you not only expect God to alter your circumstances but you expect Him to do it right away. And any delay at all is seen, by you, as a flaw on the part of God. Admit it. It's true for me and I'm willing to bet it's true for you.

And the kicker in all this is that you have sooooo much to be thankful for. First off, you are alive. You live. You exist. And secondly, you continue to live. God gave you life and still preserves it. And certainly, above all we should be thankful for the gift of new abundant life in the Savior Jesus Christ.

But I don't want to clobber you, using the grace of God as a club to make you feel bad. You should feel bad. But the Holy Spirit can take that feeling of guilt and worthlessness and use it to drive you to seek forgiveness at the foot of the cross. Did I hit a nerve up above? Good. But don't tune out. Let me tell you about Jesus of Nazareth who paid for your ingratitude. Are you selfish? Christ died for you. Are you a complainer? Christ died for you. Do you feel like the world owes you and that you are entitled to happiness? Well, Christ died for that too. You have been pardoned. Now go eat your turkey with a clear conscience.

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Anonymous said...

Great stuff, Pastor Stiegemeyer. This is a great sermon. I wonder what your congregation would do if you preached it just like it's written?

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer said...

Hi, thanks for the kind words. We'll find out what they'll do in about two hours from now. That is not the whole text of my sermon. But those paragraphs will be there with only a couple of very minor modifications to make it fit into the flow of the rest of the sermon. Otherwise, word for word.

Robert Elart Waters said...

I always found this to be the Gospel in the Gospel for Thanksgiving Day: there is no suggestion that the Nine did not stay healed.

TKls2myhrt said...

Your last paragraph summed up for me the missing piece of the evangelical world I used to live in. Only the Confessional Lutheran church was able to take me that last step back to the cross, praise God!

Out Of Jersey said...

Though I have to say I love any holidays that considers gluttony a good thing.

New Curriculum at Concordia Theological Seminary