I came across this blog post by one of my favorite pastors and authors. Paul Tripp gives us a really insightful perspective as we approach Thanksgiving and the holidays. Be sure to hit up the application questions on the bottom and let this devotional sink in even more. Enjoy!
Tomorrow, millions of Christians will gather together for a Thanksgiving meal. The question is bound to come up in nearly every conversation: "So, why are you thankful?"
It's an excellent question to ask. We ought to ask it every day, not just on certain holidays. At the same time, we ought to be slow and reflective with our answers.
I'm deeply persuaded that we must be a people who are thankful for the right reasons.
When we celebrate, why do we celebrate? When we receive blessing, how do we define blessing? What motivates our hearts to respond with gladness?
Let's be honest today: What do you really want from God?
I think many of us are just not on the Lord's agenda page. What we dream of and hope for is not the same as what he has promised us, and works by zealous grace to deliver to us.
Perhaps many of us struggle with disappointment because, at street level in our daily lives, we don't treasure what God treasures.
Could it be that many of us don't esteem what God has harnessed the forces of nature and controlled the events of human history to do: redeem our hearts.
Maybe many of us actually want nothing more than a divine gift giver who will make our lives easier by obeying our every command, for which we would give him thanks and name him as faithful.
Here are five common things that I've myself to be "too thankful" for:
(Understand what I'm trying to say. It's not wrong to be thankful for these things, or even desire them. But, are we so captivated by them that they begin to rule our hearts?)
1. Perhaps we're "too thankful" for CONTROL - when we can manipulate and organize the people and circumstances around us, life becomes predictable and safe, and we thank God for his sovereignty. But what happens when life isn't organized? Are we no longer thankful for God's sovereignty?
2. Perhaps we're "too thankful" for SUCCESS - when we climb the ladder, pass the test, make a great presentation or close the sale, we thank God for his goodness to us. But what happens when we don't succeed? Are we no longer thankful for God's goodness?
3. Perhaps we're "too thankful" for ACCEPTANCE - when we're surrounded by people who love and admire us, and our relationships are going well, we thank God for his love. But what happens when our friends and families disappoint? Are we no longer thankful for God's love?
4. Perhaps we're "too thankful" for COMFORT AND PLEASURE - when life is hassle-free and we're enjoying the pleasures of the created world, we thank God for his blessings. But what happens when those things are removed from our life? Are we no longer thankful for God's blessing?
5. Perhaps we're "too thankful" for MATERIAL THINGS - when we finally can purchase that more comfortable car and the nicer home in the better neighborhood, we thank God for his gifts. But what happens if those things are withheld from us? Are we no longer thankful for God's gifts?
You see, it's so important that we're thankful for the right reasons, and for the right things. I think many of us, myself included, have settled for a shallow and superficial thankfulness, missing out on the eternal reason to celebrate.
C.S. Lewis said so beautifully: "We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."
This Thanksgiving, be thankful for the control, success, acceptance, comfort, pleasure and material things that God has blessed you with. But don't be "too thankful" or too easily pleased. No, celebrate what God is working to produce in you – a redeemed heart.
Your Lord is much, much more than just a divine gift giver. He is your sovereign Savior King.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:
1 In what ways have you become entitled to the physical blessings God provides?
2 What can you do to recognize God's earthly gifts and grow in humble gratitude?
3 Why is it often easier to celebrate worldly things than eternal things?
4 How can you strengthen your passions for "infinite joy" over "mud pies"?
The original blog post can be found here