Praise and Thanks

Thanksgiving…

I’m thankful for all the blessings in life. I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my friends. I’m thankful that i have a house and food to come home to everyday. I’m thankful i have a job to sustain my life. I’m thankful i have a car that gets me from point A to B and back again. I’m thankful for my TV i just bought at a great price due to Black Friday deals. I’m thankful for my little cat, Slinky that bugs the crap out of me sometimes, but is still pretty cute. I’m thankful for my church. I’m thankful for the opportunity to further my schooling. i’m thankful for my life.

These are the things we generally think about when it comes to giving thanks: the lives we live, the things we have, the great blessings we have been given.

I was reading “Desiring God” today by John Piper, and he reminded me of a very heavy quote by C.S. Lewis,

“Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. 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.” (CS Lewis, “”The Weight of Glory”)

Today as i was feasting on delicious Thanksgiving grub, hangin out with my loving extended family, watching the Clippers bring home another W, and looking at Black Friday ads online, i was struck by something during my drive home… i’m far too easily pleased.

Too melancholy of a topic to think about during Thanksgiving? Maybe. But highly appropriate.

What we take delight in determines what we are thankful for. What pleases us causes thanks to well up in our hearts. I am far too easily pleased, and it has led me to be thankful for far too small of things. “Enjoy the simple pleasures in life,” the saying goes. But I wonder if too often we stop there and settle for these simple pleasures.

Piper has been refreshing my in his book, that the life of a Christian does not only believe in Christ, but longs for Christ. Christ is our ultimate joy, and worship of Christ is our ultimate desire. And until we reach that longing, and fulfill that longing with Christ Himself, we will never be fully satisfied. The simply pleasures will continue to be what they are… simple pleasures. Simple pleasures that satisfy simple desires.

Thanksgiving, a day of giving thanks, has reminded me that I am far too easily pleased, and these pleasures have dangerously conquered my thought life, my “thanks” life. I think I’ve been longing for my newly purchased TV to come in the mail this week more than I’ve been longing for Christ.

If we shall not be so easily pleased, but only long for the only thing that will fully satisfy our souls, Christ Himself, then we shall surely be eternally thankful. And our thanks will turn to praise. And our praise shall continue for eternity.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them
and give thanks to the LORD.
20 This is the gate of the LORD;
the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me
and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
23 This is the LORD’s doing;
it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

In my sin I could not enter the gates of righteousness. I was not righteous. In fact, I still cannot enter on my own. I am still not righteous. But by the Lord’s doing, by the Cross of Christ, I shall enter. This was no small feat, for my sin was no small matter, requiring a no small a death, by no small a man, for no small a salvation, leading to no small thanks, deserving of no small praise. Praise be to God. Thanks be to His Son, for nothing less than my salvation in Christ, my salvation awaiting me as I long for Christ’s return.

24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

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