Today we have a special opportunity to express our thanks for the many blessings God has given us through this year. For Christians with heart and mind focused on the eternal God, we know there are more blessings to be thankful for than we can enumerate. Despite this, I am sure there are some who think they have not much to be thankful for because this year has been one of the toughest economically we have seen in a long time. This seems to be the bane of modern Christianity especially in America because our minds are transfixed on the material. We always equate our blessings with material prosperity. In fact, there is a whole system of theology developed around this idea. It is a false gospel that is fueled by discontent; it says you are not blessed unless you are free from financial difficulty.
The proof texts against this wicked reasoning are so abundant that the Bible must either be ignored or twisted in more ways than a circus contortionist to avoid the truth. One sentence from the apostle Paul should be enough to dispel such notions. He wrote to the Colossians, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (3:2). “Things on the earth” encompasses a broad spectrum of inordinate affections not the least of which is the anxious pursuit of wealth.
Jesus often taught on this subject because the Jews of his time thought wealth was always an indication of God’s favor. Imagine their shock when he told them it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven (Matt. 19:24). Interestingly, some have tried to explain away this statement by saying the “eye of a needle” refers to a small gate or opening in a city wall by which a camel could enter with great difficulty by kneeling down and crawling through. This completely misses the point. This is the language of hyperbole and indicates utter impossibility. The “needle” is just what you think it is—a sewing needle. The person that is possessed by possessions can no more get into heaven than a camel can go through that tiny eye in a needle.
The scriptures do not leave us wondering how it is possible to be thankful in the midst of economically tough times. We are continually reminded that our citizenship is in heaven and that we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ. The mind of a Christian has been reordered and those that are still struggling with contentment on a physical plane will never find true happiness. The world can never satisfy God’s people, so this is why the prosperity gospel continues to fuel discontent. If the mind is reordered to the spiritual, how will the physical ever satisfy?
This brings me back to my main premise. The mind that is focused on the eternal God realizes it is impossible to thank God enough. We cannot wait for one day per year to praise Him for His benefits. We live to glorify Him. As David said, “Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever” (Ps. 145:2).
Pastor V. Mark Smith