"Thanks and No Thanks"

Sermon, 8.3.2008"Thanks and No Thanks" Rev. Erik Bonkovsky Luke 17:11-19

This Sunday Erik preached on the concept of giving thanks and what that involves.  He began by describing three different ways in which people perceive themselves as outsiders:

  • Social outsiders: we feel alienated from others
  • Insider/outsiders: we can look the part and fit in, but we're conscious of a certain darkness within ourselves
  • Outsiders from God: we feel separated from God, and wonder if He can accept us for who we are

True gratitude can be defined by the following characteristics:

  • Time: Our lives are run at a frenetic pace, requiring that we constantly check things off our to-do lists.  Showing gratitude means that we stop, draw near to God, and give thanks.
  • Intimacy: We put walls of busy-ness, walls of responsibility, and walls of sin between us and God.  In order to show thanks, we must get around those barriers and get close.
  • Humility: It's hard to be humble in our culture of merit and self-aggrandizing, but humility is necessary in order to give thanks.

Two truths about grace:

  • Our thanks is all about God's glory, and even completes it
  • Our thanks is a response to grace -- not the grounds of it

The central idea here is that grace is something we need again, and again, and again.  At first when we hear about grace we’re so excited that there can be a faith that sets us completely free.  But as a society we’re so conditioned to think that you get nothing for free, and that we need to somehow deserve our salvation. So we slump back into our old habits of trying to earn God's love.  The beauty in Jesus' message, though, is that it's not earnable.