A Sacrifice of Thanksgiving
Tony R. Nester
Parents try to teach their children to say "Thank you" but it doesn't always work. I heard about one mother who went to the drugstore to pick up a prescription. She had her five year-old son with her. When the pharmacist gave her the medicine he handed the boy a piece of candy. "What do you say to the nice man," the mother said to her son. The little boy quickly replied, "Charge it!"
This week's Thanksgiving holiday is when we officially remind ourselves to say "Thank you", to be grateful, and to acknowledge our blessings.
But like that mother and son, so too between us and God -- we often misunderstand the meaning of giving thanks.
Psalm 50 shows us God try to teach His people the meaning of giving thanks. Just when they are presenting their sacrifices on the altar God stops the action. "I don't need a bull from your stall. I don't require a goat from your herd. If I were hungry I wouldn't bother to tell you -- I own the cattle on a thousand hills. You don't own anything. The whole world is mine."
That's all tongue in cheek as we would say. Then God makes His point: "What I want is a sacrifice of thanksgiving. If that's what you're bringing me, then well and good. But if it isn't, then take your sacrifice off my altar."
Verse 14 says it quite simply: "Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving."
Sacrifices cost us something. Sacrifices are not a causal affair. A sacrifice of thanksgiving means much than quick "Thank you, God, I appreciate it." A sacrifice of thanksgiving costs of something.
If we were to make a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God, what might it look like?
My guess is that it might mean that we give thanks to God even when God hasn't solved all of our problems.
I was recently contacted by a man who wanted me to answer his questions about God. He was considering becoming a believer, he said, because he needed to feel completely saf ...
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