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Thanksgiving Part 2: Thanksgiving & Worldview

November 18, 2021
By Brian Fitzgerald, Discipleship Director

Last week, we considered Francis Schaeffer’s observation that “the beginning of man’s rebellion against God was, and is, the lack of a thankful heart.” Lacking thankfulness is a sign of a worldview lacking a good God. By contrast, a thankful heart signals a worldview that’s settled in the goodness and love of the Creator and Redeemer God. N.T. Wright observes, “Thanksgiving isn’t just a way of being a bit less grumpy and a bit more cheerful. It is a habit of the heart which indicates the nature and particular shape of the worldview. It is closely associated with joy…” Thanksgiving is a habit of the heart which indicates the nature and particular shape of the biblical worldview. Why? Let’s take a look.

How would you describe the habit of your own heart? Does thankfulness, joy, and peace characterize your heart? Or maybe distraction, disgruntlement, or frustration? Numbness? Perhaps the answer to the question reveals something about the nature and shape of our worldview. If my heart is generally distracted or frustrated, then what am I believing that’s allowing me to stay habitually in that state? On the other hand, what does thankfulness reveal about the nature and shape of my worldview?

The nature of the Christian worldview is personal: a personal God creating a personal world where personal image-bearers dwell and work. The shape of our worldview is a story of the creation and re-creation of the world and people by the Creator God who came incarnate in the person of Jesus. A habitually thankful heart reflects this worldview by joyfully embracing the re-creative God and His redemptive and restorative work. Lacking thankfulness makes no sense within the nature and shape of the Christian story, and therefore is indicative of thoughtforms and ideas (Dare I say lies?) that are not in line with that story—not in line with Truth. That doesn’t mean that sadness, grief, anger, and anxiety won’t be part of our human experience; but it does mean that thankfulness can pervade and be a part of each of those experiences. In the same way that we don’t grieve as those without hope (per 1 Thessalonians 4:13), we can experience good and bad times alike with a level of thankfulness that testifies to the truth and reality of the Christian story.