“I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way–in all your speaking and in all your knowledge.” (1 Corinthians 1:4-5)
My friends, we shouldn’t need a specific holiday to remind us that we ought to be thankful…but it doesn’t hurt! Thankfulness should be second nature to a Christ-follower, and yet it is often easy to take the blessings, that we have been given, for granted. The challenge for us is to learn the discipline of simplicity. What is simplicity? It is the discipline of letting go of our hunger and craving for more “stuff”. It is letting go of our lusts for possessions, affluence, popularity, recognition and power. These things are called mammon. What is mammon? Webster’s dictionary even describes it with a biblical context: “material wealth or possessions especially as having a debasing influence <you cannot serve God and mammon — Matthew 6:24“
Richard Foster explains this issue:
“We really must understand that the lust for affluence in contemporary society is psychotic. It is psychotic because it has completely lost touch with reality. We crave things we neither need nor enjoy. ‘We buy things we do not want to impress people we do not like.’ …It is time to awaken to the fact that conformity to a sick society is to be sick.” (Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth)
Stuff, in essence, can become our god. It can consume us, making us ungrateful and blind to the truth. We can become lost in our “stuff”. Possessions and things aren’t inherently bad but it depends on how we use them.
Richard Foster had more to say on this topic:
“Jesus Christ and all the writers of the New Testament call us to break free of mammon lust and live in joyous trust…They point us toward a way of living in which everything we have we receive as a gift, and everything we have is cared for by God, and everything we have is available to others when it is right and good. This reality frames the heart of Christian simplicity. It is the means of liberation and power to do what is right and to overcome the forces of fear and avarice.” (Richard J. Foster, Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World)
The key to the discipline of simplicity is…well discipline. Do you really need that cell phone upgrade? Do you really need that new car? Separate your wants from your needs. Thanksgiving isn’t about getting more stuff to make you happy. It should be about appreciating what God has already given to us and utilizing these tools for His glory! That doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy life or become obligated to a boring existence. God created us to enjoy life and more importantly to enjoy His presence in life.
Are you experiencing life through thanksgiving? Do you have time in your day to just stop and say thank you to God for all of the awesome gifts and blessings He has given to you? Don’t wait for specific holidays to recognize your need for thanksgiving. Celebrate “Thanks-living” every day, because after all, each day is a gift from God!
“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks” – Saint Ambrose
Life is precious…use it wisely!