총 게시물 585건, 최근 0 건

Being thankful, as a faithful Christian

글쓴이 : 관리자 날짜 : 2019-06-18 (화) 09:35 조회 : 87
설교일 : 2019.06.16
설교자 : Rev. Eungyong Kim
본문말씀 : Numbers 13:25-33

June 16, 2019

Christian Life Series #3

 

Being thankful, as a faithful Christian

Numbers 13:25-33

 

Rev. Eungyong Kim’s sermon at the KUMC of Metro Detroit

 

This is the third in the sermon series on our Christian life. By having faith in Jesus Christ, we have been bestowed with special abilities. On the first week, we shared our expectation to fulfill our earnest wishes, and on the second week, we shared our ability to love our enemies. Today we are going to share our ability to give thanks always.

 

The most commonly used expression among Christians is ‘being thankful’. How often do you use this expression? Are you saying “Thank God!” often? How often do you say to your wife or to your son, “I am thankful for having you as my wife!” or “I am thankful for having you as my son!”?

 

Why are we thankful? As soon as we believe in Jesus, we begin to feel thankful for His grace and for the salvation by Him.

 

God doesn’t want us to be thankful for a specific outcome, when good things come to our way or our expectation has been met. This is a conditional thankfulness and as Christians, we have to go beyond this conditional thankfulness which is dependent on the situations and circumstances.

 

Then, what is the thankfulness of Christians? Being thankful is the attitude God wants us to have in our lives. And this attitude is what God wants to see in His people.

 

We have learned this by looking into the festivals God wanted His people to observe. All the festivals are related to giving thanks. The Passover is being thankful for their liberation, Festival of Wheat Harvest is for the first-fruits and the Feast of Tabernacles is for the fall harvest. God wants us to realize that the liberation, the first-fruits and the fall harvest, all are given by God and that we should be thankful for ‘the workings of God’ in everything.

 

Therefore, God wants His people to be aware of His work and be thankful for it. In other words, we should never think of going on our own alone in our lives, but always be aware of God’s hand in our lives.  

 

Caleb’s story in today’s passage teaches us a lot about being thankful.

 

1. Our thankfulness will point out the things we are focusing on.

 

When the 10 scouts came back and gave reports after 40 days of scouting in Canaan, we can see their focuses were on the facts and emotions. The fact was that the land was a fertile land, flowing with milk and honey, but there were people living there already and they were huge and powerful.

 

After hearing this report, the Israelites raised their voices and wept aloud all night. Why? Why did they react to the scouts’ report so negatively?

 

They saw what the scouts were focusing on.

 

Even though the scouts didn’t say it with words, the people saw what the scouts were focusing on, and it was their fear of the people in Canaan. Seeing their fear, the hopes and expectations of the Israelites were so crushed that they raised their voices and cried all night.

 

Now, here comes a person with an exactly opposite attitude, and his name is Caleb. He has a completely different proposal. He says they should go up and take possession of the land, because they certainly can do it. Caleb was focusing on different things.Caleb’s focus was on God and on His promise to them. What the other ten scouts lacked, but what Caleb had was his thankfulness to God.

 

Caleb’s gratitude shows us what he was focusing on. He was not focusing on the facts, but on God only. Faced with the same facts, Caleb’s reaction was different from that of other scouts. Only those whose focus is on God give thanks, because they are always reminded of God’s guidance and His work in their lives. On the other hand, those whose focus is on facts do not have gratitude in their hearts.

 

How about you? What are you focusing on?

1)  On the facts?

2)  On the feelings?

3)  On God?

 

The first half of this year has almost gone by. Were there more good things or more bad things in your life so far this year? My next question is, what have you been focusing on? Was your focus on good things or on bad things? Did any of you focus on God who has been with you in your life the whole time?

 

God wants to teach us to live the life of giving thanks. Take a look at the Israelites after the Exodus. They had been liberated from slavery and crossed the Red Sea while singing the praises. But as soon as they reached the wilderness, they began to complain about the lack of water, food and meat. Do you think the life in the wilderness was so bad? Not really. The reason for their complaints was because they were focusing on the wilderness only. If they had focused on the vision of the Promised Land of Canaan, we believe they could have endured the life in the wilderness better. What we focus on in our lives makes all the difference.

 

< Dr. Viktor Frankl’s focus

As a Jewish prisoner in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, he lived a hellish life every day, trying to survive another day while people were being killed all around him. What he had was an extreme circumstance where no emotions including thankfulness were allowed to exist. How did he survive under those circumstances? Later on, Dr. Frankl reminisced in his book that his survival was due to a book he had been writing. At the time of his capture by Nazis, he had almost finished writing a book, and the draft was snatched away from him. So, whenever he found any paper and pencil, he recorded what he had written in his draft for the book. He was so concentrating on finishing his book that he was able to go beyond all the sufferings and horrible circumstances. >

 

By being thankful, a person will show what he is focusing on. If we were focusing on our circumstances only, we would never be thankful. But if we were focusing on God or on His vision, things would be really different.

 

2.  Our thankfulness is a good tool in analyzing our lives.

 

What is your test score in understanding your life? Are you analyzing your life well? Sometimes, we run into those who did so badly in analyzing their lives that they distorted the course of their lives.

 

< At the United Methodist Church annual conference, I met a pastor, to whom I said I had been in Michigan for 5 months and experienced the harsh winter. He replied that “Michigan has a crazy weather, as its cold season lasts too long and it snows too often”. After hearing this remark, I answered, “I don’t agree with you. Michigan has a holy weather.” Then, he asked, “Why is the Michigan weather holy?” I explained to him, “After I came here, I prayed a lot because of its dangerous snow accumulations. Even now, every night I pray for the better weather the next day, so I can say the Michigan weather is making me holier.” Then, we laughed together. >

 

How are you analyzing your life?

 

In today’s passage, we learn from Caleb how to be thankful under any circumstances. Caleb interpreted the scouting trip to Canaan differently from the other 10 scouts. Why did he do that? The facts and feelings were the same, but his interpretation was different from that of the others.

 

He analyzed the situation differently. The other 10 scouts were analyzing with their own eyes and with their own opinions, and their practical but pessimistic conclusion was that ‘the land was good, but they were too weak to conquer the people of the land.’

 

But Caleb was looking at the situation with thankfulness in his heart. Caleb analyzed his situation with the tool of thankfulness. How can you use your thankfulness as a tool for analyzing the situation?

 

Most of you are familiar with ‘a thorn in his flesh’ that Apostle Paul suffered. We are not told too much detail about this thorn, but we know that he prayed to God three times because of this serious affliction which may have caused a problem in his ministry. He may have thought this was caused by his weakness.

 

But God’s answer was just the opposite, “Your weakness is your strength.” His weakness in the flesh was making Paul depend on God more, so God interpreted that Paul’s weakness was his strength.

 

Sometimes in our lives, we experience the same thing as Paul did. Mistaking our own wills and wishes as the wishes of God, we try very diligently to fulfill the wishes. Then, we find out that God doesn’t answer our prayer requests but does the opposite, in order to teach us to interpret the situation with thankfulness.

 

This ‘interpretation with thankfulness’ means looking at the situation with thankfulness for the work of God. Caleb and Paul did this interpretation for their situations.

 

< My first commission for ministry was for a small farming village, Shin-Bok Li, Yang-Pyong, in Kyung-Gi Do. I had 2 adult members (a man and an old lady) in the church, 2 young adults and 10 Sunday school students. The services were held at a renovated cattle stable, which was too old and too small, and the parsonage was rented from the Old Women’s Hall.

 

I felt that the construction of a church building was the first priority, but the purchase of a building site in the village was not a simple matter. A man in the village offered his land of 150 Pyong to sell and we were able to purchase it with W25,000,000 (W10,000,000 from my predecessor, W5,000,000 from our savings, and W10,000,000 borrowed from the old lady in the church. I was so happy that I couldn’t sleep that night. But the next day, when I went to register the land for a church building site, the county office clerk laughed at me. The land we bought did not have any access road allowance, so we wouldn’t be able to have the construction permit for a church building. I ran to the land owner, but he wouldn’t do anything to help me. He had sold a useless land to an ignorant evangelist fresh out of the Seminary. I kept going to him and begged him to sell more land to be used for the access road, but he wouldn’t budge. All I could do was to pray. Then, after 2 months of a standstill, the landowner came to see me and asked me to sell the land back to him. I refused to sell the land which was going to be our church site, but he kept coming to insist on making a deal. It turned out that he also owned a big parcel of land in front of the land we had bought for our church and someone was going to buy the big land to build a restaurant and for additional space, he needed the land we had bought. I resolutely told him I wouldn’t sell the land, but was willing to get the site for our church elsewhere. He offered to sell the land for the village mill, 50 Pyong, in exchange for the land we had bought, 150 Pyong. When I rejected the deal, he explained to me that the land we had bought was just a patch of farmland, while the land for the mill was licensed for a building site. When I didn’t accept the deal right away, he offered additional money of W10,000,000 along with the 50 Pyong of land. In the end, we got the 50 Pyong of land for our church building and I was able to pay back W10,000,000 to the old lady in the church. >

 

I believe the whole thing was the work of God in His effort to teach me a lesson. God wanted me to experience ‘the interpretation with thankfulness’.

 

With ‘the interpretation based on our thankfulness to God’, we can become the people of God. By being thankful to God, we can live our lives as the faithful Christians.

 

In chapter 13 of Numbers, just before today’s passage, the process for selecting the 12 scouts to be sent out to Canaan was described in detail. Each leader from each ancestral tribe of Israel was selected. What an honor for the selected leader! And he is introduced as the son of so and so. What an honor for the father as well!

 

But the honor didn’t last, due to the wrong interpretation of the 10 scouts, who as the representatives of their tribes should have known how to analyze the situation with thankfulness, but didn’t.

 

Only when we analyze our situation with thankfulness, we can live our lives as the people of God.

 

3.  Giving thanks should be our habit.

 

All of us can be thankful for one time, but the Bible tells us to have the habit of giving thanks. Occasional thanks are conditional to the situations, but to have the habit of giving thanks, we have to be changed. God wants us to have the habit. He wants us to be the thankful people of God.

 

How can we acquire this habit of giving thanks? The life of Caleb gives the answer for us.

 

In chapter 14 of Joshua, we see the Israelites dividing the land of Canaan after they got hold of the Promised Land, but they still didn’t conquer Hebron. Having the cave of Machpelah, Hebron was like the heart of all Israelites. It was also called Kiriath Arba and Hebron was where the biggest Anakites lived, so no one dared to attack that area. By this time Canaan was mostly conquered except the hill country of Hebron at the center.

 

At the time of the division of the land in Canaan, Caleb asked Joshua to give him Hebron. Caleb was now 85 years old, but he wanted to drive the Anakites out of the hill country of Hebron.

 

This request shows what kind of person Caleb was and how he lived.

 

Caleb had been a man of thanks in his days of a scout when he was 40 years old and he was still a man of thanks at 85 years old.

 

This is a very important lesson for us. Once we have the habit of giving thanks, we will be thankful always, while other people give thanks only when the conditions are right.

 

In my ministry, many people tell me that they have been bestowed with the grace through the Sunday sermons. But I pay more attention to those who say “I have been changed by the Sunday sermon a lot”, as that is what God wants from us. All of us can be bestowed with the grace, but it is very rare for us to be changed by the grace.

 

In our life of faith, we are under the rule of God in everything. God wants us to give thanks and to have the habit of giving thanks, so that we will be the thankful people of God.

 

In the end, Hebron was conquered by Caleb and its land and towns belonged to the family of Caleb.

 

Don’t you want to be like Caleb and have the habit of giving thanks? 


   

총 게시물 585건, 최근 0 건
번호 설교일              제목 본문말씀 설교자
585 2019.08.18  The eager expectation of God 1 Samuel 9:11-27 Rev. Eungyong Kim
584 2019.08.18  하나님의 마중 사무엘상 9:11-27 김응용 목사
583 2019.08.11  The Good Detroiters Luke 10:30-37 Rev. Eungyong Kim
582 2019.08.11  선한 디트로이트 사람 누가 복음 10:30-37 김응용 목사
581 2019.08.04  To preach good news to the poor Luke 4:16-19 Rev. Eungyong Kim
580 2019.08.04  가난한 자에게 복음을 누가 복음4:16-19 김응용 목사
579 2019.07.28  The invisible aspects of the Sabbath Matthew 12:1-8 Rev. Eungyong Kim
578 2019.07.28  보이지 않는 안식일 마태 복음 12:1-8 김응용 목사
577 2019.07.21  The men and women who do the Q.T. everyday 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 Rev. Eungyong Kim
576 2019.07.21  큐티 하는 남자, 큐티 하는 여자 고린도 전서 9:19-23 김응용 목사
575 2019.07.14  A bowl of red stew Genesis 25:27-34 Rev. Eungyong Kim
574 2019.07.14  붉은 죽 한 그릇 창세기 25:27-34 김응용 목사
573 2019.07.07  The way, the truth and the life that Jesus has shown us John 14:1-6 Rev. Eungyong Kim
572 2019.07.07  예수가 보여주시는 길, 진리, 생명 요한 복음 14:1-6 김응용 목사
571 2019.06.30  The heart of our Father John 15:4-8 Rev. Eungyong Kim
 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  다음  맨끝

제목 : The eager expectation of God
설교일 : 2019.08.18
본문말씀 : 1 Samuel 9:11-27
설교자 : Rev. Eungyong Kim
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