I am preparing to teach at the youth group this week. Since this Sunday we are celebrating the fall harvest with a service of thanksgiving, I would like to use the youth message to teach about being grateful/thankful. The title of the message is the title of this article. The Gospel teaches us how to be thankful/grateful no matter what our age is but I really believe that teens need to be taught how to be grateful so that they can remain that way the rest of their lives. Many times, we assume that children will just inherit common sense. They will not. They must be taught. There is a passage in the Gospel of Matthew that teaches about an encounter with Jesus and His Father, God. Jesus shows us a picture of gratefulness, specifically, what a grateful child looks like.
Let’s take a moment to read this passage.
25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to infants.
26 Yes, Father, because this was Your good pleasure.
27 All things have been entrusted to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son desires to reveal Him.
28 “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
29 All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.
30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
The passage can be divide up into 3 parts;
1) Honor and Praise your Father (25-26)
2) Be appreciative of your Father (27)
3) Glorify your Father by serving others (28-30)
Unfortunately today, many teens do not know how to be appreciative. I have found that many are not grateful because they have not been taught. Many times, teens just believe they deserve what their parents, what God, do for them instead of being grateful for every little service someone does for them. I do not ever remember learning any lessons about being grateful, as a teen myself, other than my parents telling me that I need to be grateful for what I have. I was amazed to see how much of the Bible teaches about being grateful/appreciative/thankful. Once I learned this, I decided that all people need to be taught this, especially teens. Jesus Christ is an example for us in every aspect of life. The Creator of the universe knew how to be grateful so we should too.
Honor and Praise your Father
Jesus is a Son. He sees what His Father has done and does and He praises Him for it. This applies to us in two ways. One, we need to see the great things God has done and praise Him for it. We also need to see the great things that our parents do for us and let them know that we appreciate them for it. Praise them openly for their actions. When we praise our parents for their good deeds to us then we also praise God because God tells us to honor our parents. We are to praise and honor God for the good parents He has given to us. Do you notice the good things that your parents do for you? Do you thank God for the parents that you have? Do you speak highly about your parents to others?
Appreciate your Father
Jesus is very appreciative of what His Father has entrusted Him with. God entrusted the responsibility to Christ to reveal the truth about God to people. Jesus takes that responsibility seriously. How do you respond when your parents entrust you with responsibilities? Do you complain? Do you not see what you have been given because you want more? Do you take that responsibility seriously? Many times parents want to entrust responsibilities to their children little by little so that they can appreciate what they have been given, carry out their responsibilities well, and then receive more and bigger ones. They want their children to appreciate what they have been given and carry them out well. In Jesus, we see this manifested and our job is to do as He did, appreciate what we have been given and take our responsibility seriously.
Honor your parents by serving and glorifying God
Jesus honors His Father by carrying out His responsibilities exactly as is Father told Him to do. He was to reveal and explain God to people so that they could have a personal relationship with Him (God) like was intended from the very beginning. All people who have not yet been reconciled (put back in good standing) with God are weary from searching for satisfaction in this life. We are all born with a God-sized hole in our lives that only can be filled via a personal relationship with God though Jesus Christ. Jesus was sent out by God to announce and explain this truth and He did it (still doing it today). He takes on our burdens and gives us rest. This rest is a personal relationship with God, the one thing that our souls long for day and night. Jesus honored His Father by serving the people around Him from their own benefit which brings glory to God. Do you seek to honor your parents by serving the people around you, bringing glory to God? If you are just living for yourself then you are not honoring your parents, not carrying out your role God created you for, and ultimately not glorifying God. To glorify means “to give a correct opinion of someone or something”. A correct opinion of God means honoring your parents and serving the people around you. Are you doing this? If not then why not?
My prayer is that all teens will find purpose and fulfillment in life by applying God’s Word, living as Jesus did, to honor their parents in obedience and respect, serving the people around them and giving glory to God. It is possible because Jesus made it possible for us to be reconciled with God, beginning a personal relationship with Him. So the question is, are you a grateful teen (person), living the way that God intended, or not? If not, then you need to repent and be born again so that you will be able to live like this. May God help us be grateful on a daily basis.