God Desires Thanksgiving
God is more glorified when we thankfully receive from Him than when we bring offerings to Him.
This came to me as I was reading Psalm 50. It’s a psalm of Asaph in which he talks about thanksgiving and right worship. Asaph writes, “Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me [God] in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” (Psalm 50:14-15)
You see, Israel struggled not with giving God physical sacrifices – they struggled with giving God sacrifices of thanksgiving. They got in routines of giving burnt offerings, peace offerings, Sabbath rules, prayers, etc. They were doing all the external sacrifices that they thought God wanted or needed. What they lacked was a heart sacrifice; a sacrifice of thanksgiving. A true thanksgiving as the covenant people of God that gives glory to Him. How? Because they’ve recognized and appreciated God’s gifts and attributed them to Him.
The sacrifice of thanksgiving was a form of a peace offering, according to Leviticus 7:11-12, involving a community meal. You’d thank God for His provision by eating with one another. Now we know why we eat a meal with one another for Thanksgiving!
Anytime we genuinely say “thank you” we’re admitting that someone did something for us. Maybe you received a gift by surprise, a co-worker took your shift, your boss raised your salary, or maybe it’s as simple as the barista giving you the drink you paid for. In all of these situations, we admit that someone did something for us whether we deserved it or not when we say “thanks.”
But, it’s hard to say “thank you” sometimes – isn’t it?
We’re a proud people. Pride is the deep rooted sin in all of us that makes us want to do everything on our own. So, when someone does something for you, saying “thank you” reveals that you recognize and appreciate the gift of the other. You see, more glory is given to the gift-giver than the gift-receiver. When a proud person sees this, their heart becomes hardened.
Now, whether you’re stubborn and proud, never saying “thank you” but even rejecting the gifts of others, or happy to receive and say “thank you,” we’re all guilty of robbing God of His glory.
Every time we don’t give thanks to God for the things that He’s done, we’re either attributing His glory elsewhere (most likely to ourselves), or ignoring it. Both are terribly, terribly wrong.
Asaph again writes, “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me.” (Psalm 50:23) God is making it very clear that He doesn’t care about our external sacrifices unless our thankful heart is the cause of them.
I’m proud, your proud, we’re all proud. We struggle with thankfulness because it’s contrary to our sinful nature. Sure, we do a lot for God (tithe, serve, read, pray, etc.), but what really glorifies God is when we offer Him a sacrifice of thanksgiving.
How can we apply this to our lives this Fall?
Every time we prepare to offer God something (Bible reading, prayer, tithes, etc.), may we first stop, thank God for all He’s given us, and let that thankful heart be the cause of our offerings.