Our site features a number of free illustrations to help pastors prepare for sermons. Here are a few to finish off that Thanksgiving sermon.

One Thanksgiving season a family was seated around their table, looking at the annual holiday bird. From the oldest to the youngest, they were to express their praise. When they came to the 5-year-old in the family, he began by looking at the turkey and expressing his thanks to the turkey, saying although he had not tasted it he knew it would be good. After that rather novel expression of thanksgiving, he began with a more predictable line of credits, thanking his mother for cooking the turkey and his father for buying the turkey. But then he went beyond that. He joined together a whole hidden multitude of benefactors, linking them with cause and effect.

He said, "I thank the checker at the grocery store who checked out the turkey. I thank the grocery store people who put it on the shelf. I thank the farmer who made it fat. I thank the man who made the feed. I thank those who brought the turkey to the store."

Using his Columbo-like little mind, he traced the turkey all the way from its origin to his plate. And then at the end he solemnly said "Did I leave anybody out?"

His 2-year-older brother, embarrassed by all those proceedings, said, "God."

Solemnly and without being flustered at all, the 5-year-old said, "I was about to get to Him."

Well, isn't that the question about which we ought to think at Thanksgiving time? Are we really going to get to Him this Thanksgiving?

Citation: Joel Gregory, "The Unlikely Thanker," Preaching Today, Tape No. 110.

A church had gathered to pray for a needy family around Thanksgiving. The family needed food and concerned folks from the church got together to pray for them. While the prayer meeting was going on, a young boy came and knocked on the door of the home where members had gathered, entered into the house and told them, "My father said to tell you that he can't come tonight to pray because he is too busy unloading his prayers at the Jones' house. He said to tell you that he is taking a side of beef, a sack of potatoes, a bushel of apples, and some jars of jam. He said he could not be here to pray, but that he has taken his prayers and unloaded them at their house."

Thanksgiving by way of daily thanksliving demands that we pray, yes; but it also demands that we "unload" our prayers at the doorsteps of those who are hungry, lonely, and just plain without.
(Jimmy Gentry, Temple Baptist Church, Carrollton, GA)

Melodie Beattie, a noted self-help author, often stresses the importance of gratitude. She says, "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." If we believe Melodie Beattie is right, it will make us appreciate Thanksgiving Day, as well as make us more grateful the other 364 days.

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