John Chrysostom on Thanksgiving

Church Father Friday is the ongoing curation of Patristic texts. These short selections from church history remind us of where we’ve been, and what God has done throughout history for the Church. I pray these excerpts are a blessing to you.


One of my favorite things about writing Church Father Friday is seeing the practical ministry of some of the greatest minds in church history. These men didn’t only write deep theological treatises (which they did), or combat soul ruining heresies (which they did) but they loved the people they were called to serve in the ministry. When we think about the Church Fathers only as apologists or theologians, we actually miss their pastoral bend and therefore lose who they were as a person. If you truly want to see the heart and personality of a Church Father, read their letters, sermons, and personal correspondence. 

Okay, I’m hopping off of my soapbox now. Every year at Thanksgiving, I read a short excerpt from church history regarding being thankful. This year we looked at John Chrysostom’s Homily on Matthew 7:28-29. This CFF won’t be as academic as others have been in the past. I simply pulled some of the most profound statements Chrysostom said about being thankful and added a heading. I pray that these words are as encouraging to you as they were to my family!

Thankfulness Reminds Us Of Our Utter Need for God

Therefore bearing these things in mind, let us also fulfill all our duties to our neighbors, and to God let us give thanks continually. For it is too monstrous, enjoying as we do His bounty in deed every day, not so much as in word to acknowledge the favor; and this, though the acknowledgment again yield all its profit to us. Since He needs not, be sure, anything of ours: but we stand in need of all things from Him. Thus thanksgiving itself adds nothing to Him, but causes us to be nearer to Him. For if men’s bounties, when we call them to memory, do the more warm us with their proper love-charm; much more when we are continually bringing to mind the noble acts of our Lord towards us, shall we be more diligent in regard of His commandments.

Thankfulness Reminds Us Of What Christ Accomplished For Us

For this cause even the awful mysteries, so full of that great salvation, which are celebrated at every communion, are called a sacrifice of thanksgiving, because they are the commemoration of many benefits, and they signify the very sum of God’s care for us, and by all means they work upon us to be thankful. For if His being born of a virgin was a great miracle, and the evangelist said in amaze, now all this was done; His being also slain, what place shall we find for that? Tell me. I mean, if to be born is called all this; to be crucified, and to pour forth His blood, and to give Himself to us for a spiritual feast and banquet — what can that be called? Let us therefore give Him thanks continually, and let this precede both our words and our works.

Thankfulness Makes Us Happy For Others

But let us be thankful not for our own blessings alone, but also for those of others; for in this way we shall be able both to destroy our envy, and to rivet our charity, and make it more genuine. Since it will not even be possible for you to go on envying them, on behalf of whom you give thanks to the Lord

There Is No Such Thing As A Small Gift From God

Let us too therefore continually give thanks, for our own blessings, and for those of others, alike for the small and for the great. For though the gift be small, it is made great by being God’s gift, or rather, there is nothing small that comes from Him, not only because it is bestowed by Him, but also in its very nature.

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