John Calvin's little work, The Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life, has proved to be one of the most helpful reads in my life outside of Scripture. I'm encouraging you all to get it if you don't already have it. It's a short book that can and should be read multiple times. I have shared this particular quote before on the blog, but at this time of year when Thanksgiving and Black Friday combine to lead us into a kind of grateful gluttony it's a helpful word. Calvin argues that when we see all good things as gifts from God and receive them with gratitude and enjoy them in faith, we will not abuse or misuse them. Thankfulness will lead us to enjoy the gift fully without turning it into an idol, or our pleasure into our highest virtue. Here's a quote.
First of all if we want to curb our [ungodly] passions we must remember that all things are made for us, with the purpose that we may know and acknowledge their Author. We should praise his kindness toward us in earthly matters by giving him thanks.
But, what will become of our thanksgiving, if we indulge in danties, or wine, in such a way that we are too dull to carry out the duties of devotion or of our business?
Where is our acknowledgment of God, if the excesses of our body drive us to the vilest passions, and infect our mind with impurity, so that we can no longer distinguish between right and wrong?
(Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life, pg. 89)
You can find online versions of this, but newer translations are better. I encourage you to buy a new copy.