“I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord.” Psalm 116:17
What comes to mind when you think of the word ‘thanksgiving?’
If you’re like me, you’ll imagine ‘thanksgiving’ as expressing our gratitude to someone.
And it certainly can be that, but when thanksgiving is mentioned in the Old Testament, it’s often described as a sacrifice. The Israelites brought portions from their harvest or livestock as a tangible gift of their thankfulness.
What if, this year, we express our thanksgiving not only in words but in sacrifice?
…we sacrifice a portion of our finances as a tithe to our church or other ministries, giving thanks to God for what He’s provided for us?
…we sacrifice a portion of our own convenience to serve and care for struggling people around us giving thanks to God for the opportunities He’s given us to be the hands and feet of Jesus?
…we sacrifice a portion of our time to listen to and encourage a friend or family member giving thanks to God for those He’s given us to love?
…we sacrifice a portion of our time to engage in gospel conversations with unbelieving neighbors, co-workers, or classmates, giving thanks to the God who first saved us and commissioned us to share His truth with others?
…we sacrificed a portion of our preferences, serving our family members, friends, or roommates by seeking their interests above our own (Philippians 2:4,5), giving thanks to the God who sent His Son to serve us, rather than to be served Himself (Matthew 10:45)?
…we sacrifice a portion of our attention, spending extra time in the Word and in prayer, giving thanks to the God who made a way for us to have continual access to Him and who sent Jesus, the Word Himself made flesh (John 1:1)?
To be clear – God doesn’t need our sacrifices. Sacrifices don’t earn our salvation, place us in higher standing with God, or force His hand into giving us material blessings. We are saved by grace through faith – not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9).
But sacrifices have a way of demonstrating – to Him, to ourselves, and to those around us – the treasure we have found in Jesus, for He is more valuable than any sacrifice we could ever make. In fact, He’s more valuable to us than our very lives, because “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
And our sacrifices of thanksgiving to Him may serve to bless others around us with good in a way that points them to the One our sacrifices are truly for – the Giver of all good things (James 1:17), to whom we present our lives as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to Him, which is our true act of worship (Romans 12:1).
So, as we celebrate this Thanksgiving week, what do you want to thank God for today? How might you bring Him a “sacrifice of thanksgiving” to express your gratitude and bless others?
Written by Kaitlin Febles, Guest Contributor
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