Thanksgiving and Idolatry

Yes, you read that right. It is possible to be idolatrous in your thanksgiving. John Piper writes a thought provoking article on a statement by a well known man known as Jonathon Edwards. The statement is as follows:

“True gratitude or thankfulness to God for his kindness to us, arises from a foundation laid before, of love to God for what he is in himself; whereas a natural gratitude has no such antecedent foundation. The gracious stirrings of grateful affection to God, for kindness received, always are from a stock of love already in the heart, established in the first place on other grounds, viz. God’s own excellency.”

John Piper simplifies this statement by saying that a gratitude that is pleasing to God is not one of being grateful His gifts (though that is a part of being grateful) but rather it is an enjoyment of the Gift Giver. If we simply enjoyed the gift and even gave thanks to the Giver, but we had no love toward Him, the Giver becomes Santa Claus, only existing to give, give, and give.

Piper goes on to use James 4:3-4 as another comparison between our wrong view of giving thanks. In James 4:3-4, the writer rebukes the one who uses prayer to only receive things from God. He compares him to an adulteress, receiving money from her husband and going off and enjoying pleasure elsewhere. It is the same with us. If we don’t enjoy God, and only use prayer to receive things for our own selfish desires, we are no better than the adulterer.

This thanksgiving day, I hope you enjoy gathering with family. I hope you enjoy the great foods on your tables. But most of all, I hope you enjoy the God who gives all these things to you, so that you may be thankful for Him.
Happy thanksgiving.

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1 Comment

  1. Amen and Amen.

    Enjoy Him forever. Really… forever.


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