Thanksgiving as Worship, Worship as Thanksgiving

Ron ManFor years, worship leader Ron Man has sent out a monthly e-mail called Worship Notes, a very helpful resource for worship leaders.  (You can access the blog here:  In the November 2007 post, Man provided a list of excellent quotes on the subject of thankfulness (especially in light of worship), and I reprint a few of them here for your consideration:

“One of the most excellent methods of showing our thankfulness for deliverances is to tell our brethren what the Lord has done for us.  We mention our sorrows readily enough; why are we so slow to declare our deliverances?” — Charles Spurgeon, Treasury of David

“We should beware of even turning biblical teaching into an end in itself, whereas the goal of sound doctrine is heartfelt gratitude and thankful obedience.” — Michael Horton, In the Face of God

“Take heed, then, often to come together to give thanks to God, and show forth his praise.  For when ye come frequently together in the same place, the powers of Satan are destroyed and his ‘fiery darts’ urging to sin fall back ineffectual.  For your concord and harmonious faith prove his destruction, and the torment of his assistants.” — Ignatius of Antioch

“O how great the evil of ingratitude is!  It produces desire for vain things, and again produces blindness; and blindness produces idolatry, and idolatry leads to a whole deluge of vices.  Conversely, gratitude preserves love for God and the heart remains attached to him and is enlightened.  Filled with light, he worships only the living God and such true worship is followed immediately by a whole host of virtues.” — Martin Luther, Commentary on Romans

“Thanksgiving is the act by which man acknowledges his dependence upon another: it is therefore the fundamental acknowledgment of the Creator by the creature.” — William Nicholls, Jacob’s Ladder: The Meaning of Worship

“Until you become thankful, you will never find joy.  Being thankful is not telling God you appreciate the fact that your life is not in shambles.  If that is the basis of your gratitude, you are on slippery ground.  Every day of your life you face the possibility that a blessing in your life may be taken away.  But blessings are only signs of God’s love.  The real blessing, of course, is the love itself.  Whenever we get too attached to the sign, we lose our grasp on the God who gave it to us. . . . We are not ultimately grateful that we are still holding our blessings.  We are grateful that we are held by God even when the blessings are slipping through our fingers.” — M. Craig Barnes, Hustling God: Why We Work So Hard for What God Wants to Give

“The Rabbis declare that, in the Messianic Era, all sacrifices will be unnecessary except the thank-offering.  All sacrifices shall have been completed their educational mission, all save the one inculcating the duty of gratitude.  That sacrifice is to continue forever.” — T.F. Torrance, Royal Priesthood

“There is no duty more urgent than giving thanks.” — Ambrose of Milan

“Thanksgiving is at the heart of Christian worship. . . . In worship [we] give thanks to God for our creation and re-creation in Jesus Christ.” — Donald Stake, The ABCs of Worship

“There is always a choice between resentment and gratitude because God has appeared in my darkness, urged me to come home, and declared in a voice filled with affection: ‘You are with me always, and all I have is yours.'” — Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming

I wish you a blessed Thanksgiving.  The Lord be with you!

About Warren Anderson

Emmaus Road Worshipers is written by Dr. Warren Anderson, Director of the Demoss Center for Worship in the Performing Arts at Judson University (Elgin, Ill.), where he also directs the Judson University Choir. A Judson alumnus, he has served his alma mater in a number of capacities over the past 30+ years, especially the chapel ministry, which he led for 22 years. From 1982-2016, Dr. Anderson served six different churches--American Baptist (X2), Converge, Evangelical Free Church of America, Roman Catholic, and United Methodist--as a "weekend warrior" worship musician/pastor. He is a former member of the editorial board of Worship Leader magazine. The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of Judson University.
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1 Response to Thanksgiving as Worship, Worship as Thanksgiving

  1. Lynn Hammerlund says:

    Eucharist=Thanksgiving. Keeping your senses, your mind, and your heart open to the blessings you receive or encounter helps that attitude of gratitude.


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