Giving thanks is easy when there’s something tangible for which to be thankful. You know…the sun shines on the day you’ve planned a family picnic, your suitcases land at the same airport as you do after a long trip, you live a “happily-ever-after” life with a loving family and mortgage-free house, everything you do meets with success, yada yada. It’s not so easy when the rain falls on your party, suitcases get lost, “happily-ever-after” turns into a nightmare, and everything you do seems to fail.
That’s when giving thanks becomes an act of the will. In the midst of life’s tough stuff is where we called to practice the sacrifice of thanksgiving. Doing so proves that we’re trusting God even though we can’t understand His ways. In turn, honoring Him opens the door for Him to bless us.
Psalm 50:14,23 says, “Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High…Giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me. If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.” These verses, like many others in Scripture, give a command with a promise.
Command: Give thanks to God even when it hurts.
Promise: God will reveal His salvation to us.
Practicing the sacrifice of thanksgiving is a lesson I’m learning on an ongoing basis. Did I feel thankful when a friend was recently diagnosed with leukemia? No, but I gave thanks to God for holding her in His hand.
Did I feel thankful when the quote for the cost of a current book publishing project suddenly escalated several hundred dollars? No, but I gave thanks to God for His ability to provide.
Do I feel thankful that I’m scheduled for major dental work this month? Are you kidding? In the midst of white-knuckled anticipation, I’m thanking God for a dentist who’s skilled and able to address my tooth issues quickly.
It’s my job to obey God’s command and practice the sacrifice of thanksgiving. It’s His job to fulfill His promise in whatever manner He wishes. Maybe it’s fulfilled in the peace that I’ve experienced since I started expressing thanks. Or maybe there’s more. That’s not my concern, but I must admit, I am curious.
How about you? Tell us about a situation in which you practiced the sacrifice of thanksgiving and how you experienced the salvation of God.