This week, I interrupt my usual discussion about misused scriptures by the Religious Right to talk about giving thanks. I see a lot of thanksgiving on Facebook with the thanksgiving challenge. It’s pretty delightful to see so many thankful people. There’s a lot to be thankful for and there’s a lot of theology going into giving thanks. I will use this post to discuss briefly about our thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving has always filled the pages of the NT and quite often the lips of Christians who like to quote verses (Eph. 5.20; 1 Thess. 5.18; Heb. 13.15). While I do not deny the very important practice of giving thanks, especially to God who has given us many blessings, I can’t help but think that we really need to use our brains to hear what we’re saying when we “give thanks always.”
I always get a kick out of athletes who give God all the credit for all that happens. “I give thanks to God for my last minute touchdown.” “I thank God for winning.” How about this one? Someone finds a load of cash on the ground. “I thank God for this money. I sure needed this money. Besides, these people probably wouldn’t come back to get the money anyway.” I can make an endless loop of such thanksgiving, but do you see where I’m going with this?
If God helps one team win, does it mean he condemned the other team then? What if BOTH teams prayed? Was God biased? Would thanking God by taking someone’s money be a good or bad thing? What if that someone really needed the money and prayed to find the money?
The fact is, we sometimes frivolously thank God for all the things because they centered on us instead of on God. This is something all Christians need to watch out for. If not, our thanksgiving is just one more sad effort in creating the Creator in our own image. We then become God!