Entering Thanksgiving week, it is good to reflect on the nature of giving thanks, for as many have observed praise is fundamental to what it means to be human.
Ingratitude: The Arrhythmia of Man’s Heart
If we think about it, one of humanity’s greatest ‘sins’ is our quickness to complain and our slowness to give thanks. In the Old Testament, Israel was rebuked strongly because of their murmuring. And personally, it happens too often that my own heart moves towards complaint instead of contentment.
In fact, Romans 1:21 indicts us all when Paul says that part of humanity’s idolatry stem’s from our unwillingness to honor God as God or to give thanks to him.
Sadly, ingratitude is the arrhythmia of every fallen heart. It can only be ‘reset’ by the new birth. When God gives us a new heart, he exchanges our thankless heart for a heart that longs to thank someone.
Indeed, when we are born again God gives us new impulses that beckon us to give thanks. And not to generic thanksgiving, but thanksgiving directed to the One who has given us every good and perfect gift. As we enter Thanksgiving week, it is good for us to consider the posture of our own hearts.
Tomorrow I will preach on Psalm 111 as a way to recalibrate our praise. It is a powerful psalm of thanksgiving that praises God for his creation and his redemption. It calls us to worship him not based on the strength of our gratefulness but on the splendor of his grace. Consider the Psalmists words.
Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy;
they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!
True Thanksgiving Moves From Creation to the New Creation
While it is appropriate to give thanks for creation, true praise comes from Christ’s redemptive work. While we may begin with thankfulness for the day’s new mercies and the plate of food we share with friends, eventually thankful hearts must move from creation to cross, the empty tomb, and the promise of Christ’s return.
This is the point of Andrew Peterson’s ballad, “Don’t You Want to Thank Someone.” It’s a powerful reminder that this world drives us to praise Someone and that ultimately that Someone is Christ. He is the One behind every good gift and the One who will make all the wrong things right.
Take a listen to his song. Give thanks to God for his creation and even more give thanks this Lord’s Day for the new creation God has brought to pass and is bringing to pass in Jesus Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria, dss