Whom Do You Thank?

This week, we pause our message series for a small Thanksgiving reflection. The way we understand God has an effect on all areas of our lives, including how we approach Thanksgiving Day.

In a recent survey, 10% of Americans state that they do not believe in God or any sort of higher power.

Many people have embraced a materialistic view of the world: the only things that exist are those which can be observed and measured. If this is true, God does not exist, and neither does the human soul. Are we all here due to the workings of random chance? The quirky personality of a loved one, the hilarious wit of a relative, and the love we experience for them: are these merely the interaction of chemical processes in our brains, the firing of neurons? If so, we really have no one to thank.

33% of Americans state that they do not believe in God, but they believe “in some higher power or spiritual force.”

This reflects a trend in our culture to see God as an impersonal force or energy. Even as people turn away from religion, most instinctively reject a materialistic worldview, recognizing that there is more to reality than the visible world. But in matters of faith, God is seen as a “something” rather than a “someone.” A force or energy cannot know us or love us. In this case, thanking God on Thanksgiving doesn’t make much sense, any more than we would thank gravity for its constant help. Gravity isn’t aware of our existence; it doesn’t care that we are grateful that it keeps us from floating away like a balloon.

56% of Americans state that they believe in God as described in the Bible.

The God revealed in Scripture is a “someone,” rather than a force or energy. He created each of us with great care. He knows each of us intimately, down to the number of hairs on our heads. (Matthew 10:30) He loves each of us more than the best parents love their child. He is part of every moment of our lives, and he is the giver of all of the blessings we have. He is the one to whom we can offer our gratitude on Thanksgiving.

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