THANKFULNESS

(From a sermon of Bro. Julius Adewumi -- 3/21/97)

This message is "thank God for everything He has provided." I will like to read from Mat.6. This message could have been coined: "Count your blessings". But when people say "count your blessings", it has always been to comfort those who are in trouble or who lack some provisions, or who are in sadness. People usually comfort folks in such situation to look and see what God has done, and to use that to thank God. That is one way of giving thanks. However, today this message is about thanking God when everything is going well. When everything is going well, we want to thank God. What we should do is to look back at the time when things were not so good. Then use that to thank God. Look back at the time when things were not going so good, remember what was happening to you in those days, either when you were not in good provision, and so on.

Let's pray: Lord Jesus I pray that you'll help me to present this message so that all hearers will be edified, both here and on the internet, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?" (Mat.6:25-34).

Like I said, we could use these words to comfort someone who is in sorrow for lost of job, or things like that. But when things are really good you want to look back at the days when you were in need, and then thank God for how you are now. The Lord was saying here, "Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?"

The theme of my message is "Take care of what you have! Don't forget the days before you have them." Let me give you an example of what I am saying. A rich and unmarried woman once said though she had a lot of money, but she was miserable because she didn't have someone with whom to share the wealth. Before I was married, when I was in Nigeria, I would travel to England for my company. The company would give me a lot of money for the trip. With all the money in my hand, I would see in the stores some beautiful dresses for ladies and for children. I would love those dresses and wish I had family for whom I could buy those dresses as gifts from overseas. You have to remember that in those days my peers already were married and with children. That was why I also had such parental longing. I would shake my head and couldn't buy them because I had no wife nor children yet. That is what I mean. People who have money and have no one to spend it on, do feel so sad sometimes. This will make somebody appreciate what you have after God has given you all your heart's desires. Therefore, if you have family, be thankful to God, be appreciative of your family and take care of your family. You should remember the days of loneliness, for it was lonesome in those days, and thank God for giving you a family.

Yea indeed, "Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord, that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord." (Psa. 128:1-4).

For another example, look at a Christian sister who was married for many years, 7-10 years, without children. They have prayed and prayed to have a baby, people have prayed for the couple and given them words of hope to trust God, and expect a miracle. The woman requested several times "please pray for me that I could get a baby!" We all prayed for her and her husband, for a long time. She was so sad, so lonely after many years of marriage and no child. And now, God answered the prayers. She got a baby. We all rejoiced with her. Should she be complaining that "the baby cried all night yesterday, I couldn't sleep?" Should she be complaining, that "I have to wash towels, napkins, diapers, and so many baby stuff"? should she be complaining, that "I have to spoon-feed, I have to bottle-feed, I have to breast-feed, .. Ah, .. I wish I don't have the baby?" should she be saying that? No! She has to remember the days of loneliness! She has to remember all her prayers and the prayers of friends for her to get a baby, when she was really longing for a baby. Now the job of taking care of a baby has overwhelmed her, she was complaining. "Oh, I have not slept all night. The baby cried. I couldn't sleep!" She should be excited! Do you understand what I am trying to say? Sometime people forget. That is what I am trying to point out here. Remember the days of old so that you can thank God properly. Remember the days of praying for a baby, or those praying for a spouse, remember the days of loneliness, when you were praying for God to give you a partner for marriage and a family. Now that you get it, don't throw it away for some solvable human problems. Take care of what God gave to you, and thank God for what you have.

Remember the days of old. God always told the Israelites: Remember the days of old. It's very easy to forget the longings and the sad days after the heart has been satisfied. But the bible said "forget not all his benefits." Psalm 107 gave a long list of what and how men should remember the sad days so as to give thanks unto the Lord for his goodness and for his wonderful works to the children of men.

For another example, let's say somebody is looking for job. He has no employment, and for long he couldn't get money to pay his rent or his mortgage, and to put food on the table for his family. Maybe he is always borrowing money and almost lose his house one time. He is so sad, and everybody is concerned for him. Everybody is praying that the man willl be able to find a job. Now God opened a door and he has a business and has a lot of contracts lined up for him, so that he is now very busy. Should he be complaining that he has no time, and that he has too much to do? he should not complain. He should remember the months when he couldn't even pay his rent, when there was no money to put food on the table for his family. Now that he's got a job, and a lot of money is coming in, he shouldn't be complaining that "the job is just too much". He should thank God and say "I am excited; Now I can choose the job I' ll like to do"; and do it with excitement. That is what it means to serve the Lord with gladness.

The Lord reminds me of this: everyone of us have been praying " O God, bring revival. Bring your supernatural power". All of us are longing for the power and for the revival. And the Lord said "Are you ready?" Let's see what revival did to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus literally had waited 30 years for the revival and when it came, he hardly could have time to eat. The Lord Jesus Christ hardly had time to eat, because people were flocking to him. They were carrying sick folks in beds looking for Jesus. The Lord Jesus went to the desert place to be apart for a while, yet the multitudes followed when they knew where he went, with their sick folks. He was moved with compassion when he saw them scattered abroad as sheep without Shepherd. (Mat.14).

Therefore, we who are expecting revival and the power of God to use us mightily, if God send that power and multitudes are running after us carrying their sick folks, people flocking out of the hospitals, crying "help us!" Are we ready for the toll it will take on our time? Think of the poor countries when you imagine this. In this country USA, many may be too proud to leave the hospitals to go seek a miracle worker, but not so in the third world countries. Hospitalization is too expensive and the poor folks will rather have free healing. It will take a toll on the time of the evangelist. The preacher himself will have no time anymore for his family. But don't complain! I remember the testimony of a man of God whom God used mightily. After the crowds were going and coming, and the family had no privacy of their homes any much, the frustration was built up upon the wife. It can be very tumultous. It's like the story of a sister who put up an old lady in her house for the love of God. As the responsibility for taking care of an old woman multiplied upon this sister, the frustration will be apparent. She was quoted to be saying "I didn't bargain for this".

Same with revival. Let's count the cost of what we are praying for. When the power of God comes down, the dead are being raised, the sick are being healed, people are running to find where this miracle worker is located. Even if in a crusade, thousands lined up to be prayed for or to be touched by this servant of God, and the preacher is tired. For hours you cannot get to all of the people. Then remember the days of praying and asking for God to send the power and the anointing. Serve the Lord with gladness and excitement anyway!

"When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and healed their sick." (Mat.14:13-14).

That is what revival does. So, somebody has to know what you are asking for when you pray that "Jesus, send forth your power." When it arrives, you will be so busy that no more private time with your family. Remember the story of Peter in the book of Acts. When the power was so much, people were flocking into Jerusalem with their sick folks, and they laid them on the streets where Peter would pass. "In so much that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one." (Acts 5:15-16).

Peter must have been tired of laying hands on many of them, that he decided "I can't stop and touch each person or else I will never get to where I want to go. Just lay them on the side-walks. My shadow will do it". When God brings this miracle power to us, hardly will we have time to eat. Even then, instead of being frustrated, we should remember the days when we were praying for God to give us the power. We should use that to thank God! We should remember the days when we prayed and prayed and prayed for the sick, and the fellow still died. So we must let the compassion of God overrule when we are so tired and frustrated with multitudes flocking after us to be healed and prayed for, if we have no more private time with our families. It will come folks!

For another example, someone that is healthy now should remember the days when he was sick and couldn't move around, and use that to say, O God, I thank you for good health.

The Psalmist wrote, "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thine diseases." (Psa.103:2-3). The way you won't forget God's benefits is when you remember how you were before, and compare with how you are now, then you will thank God.

In Psalm 107:4-8, the psalmist brought to light how people were miserable before crying to God, "Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses. And he led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city of habitation. O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men."

"Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted. Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death. Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses. he sent his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men." (Psa.107:17-21). This is saying, those who had been sick before should look back at those days when they were sick, and thank God for the good health now.

Let's pray for those who are still sick now and they are praying for healing; and those who are lonely right now and they are praying for partners; and those who are childless and they are praying for children, and those unemployed who are praying for jobs. May the Lord grant the desires of their hearts, in Jesus name.

I pray that the Lord Jesus give the believers a heart of thankfulness.

Bro. Julius adewumi

Gospel Distribution Ministry