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Living the Secret: Having a Thankful Heart

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The Apostle Paul faced some very difficult circumstances.

    • What were his circumstances as he wrote this letter to Philippian Christians?
      • He was in prison.    Why? Was it serious?
      • He was wondering which would be better to die and go and be with the Lord or to be able to serve

If you were in prison would you be anxious?

        • How do you feel when you are worried?
        • Are you really happy when you are worried?
      • It takes someone with something different to be saying as a prisoner:  "I will not be anxious.  I will pray and give thanks to God!"

Tami's Letter:

If you received a letter from a friend, Tami, who was having a difficult time….and she wrote to you and said.."Things aren't going well.  My mother is sick and not doing very well.   School has been hard.  I didn't make the softball team.  That was disappointing.  And math what a trip that is… I think I'm starting to catch on.  But you know what "I'm just so thankful for everyday!  I try to help mom some and I am cheerful around the house.  I figure that is the best way to bring a little cheer here.  Because I know God is good.  And I just want to thank him for all my friends who love Jesus and help me be cheerful!"

How would you feel after you read the letter?

Now let me ask you a question:  Do you think your friend Tami is a thermometer or a thermostat?

Some people are like Thermometers

What does a thermometer do?  It registers the temperature of the air around it.  Right?

Some people are like that!  They reflect the atmosphere around them. 

  • If they walk into a room in which there is  great  excitement what do they become?  Excited.
  • If they walk into a room in which there is quietness?  What do they become?  Quiet!
  • If they are sitting in a group of persons and the group begins to pick on someone sitting near…what do they do?   They join right in with their nasty and cutting remarks!
  • That is a thermometer type person.

So now:  If Tami were a thermometer what kind of letter would she write?

    • She would write one that let you know how bad she had it.  

Some people are like Thermostats

What does a thermostat do?  It controls and changes the temperature when necessary.  Right.  If it is cold in the house what do you do?  You turn up the thermostat and what happens?  The house warms up!

Some people are like that!  They change the atmosphere around them.

  • If they walk into a room in which there is  great  excitement because they all Aced a test, what will they become?  Joy!
  • If they walk into a room where there is great tension because two persons are having an angry argument that is far too serious what might this person do?
    • This person might try to get the persons involved in the argument to each give the other a chance to talk while the other one listens.
    • Or this person might encourage the two to change the subject and join the rest of the group in playing a game that would bring the tension in the room down. 
  •  If they are sitting in a group of persons and the group begins to pick on someone sitting near…what do they do?  What does a thermostat person do?
    • This person would say:  "You know this is just not right!  I think we ought to stop this."
    • This person might do something:  She might tell the rest of the group that she feels that it is not right to pick on people and then might go and sit with the one being picked on!
    • That is a thermostat  person:  they change the atmosphere around them.

Now lets go back to Tami's letter:  Was she being a Thermometer, simply reflecting

    •  How sad she was because she didn't make the softball team, and
    • Tell you she had a lousy math teacher,
    • And complain about the help that she had to give her mother
    • NO!  She's not a thermometer.

She's a thermostat person who is trying to help because Jesus has done so much for her.

  • Let's try another one:
    • You are really interested in bike riding.  And your birthday is coming up.  You have requested a really good bike so that you can ride long distances.  It's quite expensive really.  You have one that is old but is a good bike, yet.  However, all your friends have new bikes.  You however don't have much problem keeping up with them or anything like that…it's just that theirs are new and shiny and yours is not.  Your hopes are high. 
    • Then dad comes home from his job, and you know something is wrong.  He has this very sad look on his face.  At supper time you find out that he lost his job due to downsizing.  Your heart sinks because you know that the bike thing is in real trouble.

How would you respond if you were a thermometer?

    • Cry
    • Pout
    • Go to your room and not come out because you are angry.
    • How would that change the atmosphere in the home?

How would you respond if you were a thermostat?

    • Tell Dad how you are so thankful for all that he has done for you. 

Tell Dad that the bike you have been wanting can wait 'til another time. But if he could just help you adjust some of the gears so they shifted a little better. 

How would that change the atmosphere in your home?

Giving thanks for what you do have is what Paul discovered was at the root of being content when he had plenty, or when he did not have enough. And so he looked for ways to be thankful!

What can we always give thanks for?

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