“The one who offers thanksgiving as His sacrifice glorifies me.”
Psalm 50:23b ESV
November has not been kind to California. We lament as stories of suffering and death and horror continue to assault us. Have mercy, Lord. Have mercy!
As we roll into Thanksgiving we see “Give Thanks” signs in stores and homes. We scroll through Facebook and read posts of gratefulness. However, for some, coming up with a blessing is like finding a black cat on a moonless night. Seemingly impossible. Too much pain in the heart to search for good. Where does one begin after losing a child in a shooting or losing a home or an entire town to a fire?
A friend of mine who lost her child, once shared with me that she found it took too much effort in her grief-crippled state to come up with something she could be thankful for. She said it was a sacrifice to try to do so.
The Word of God is replete with the words “thanksgiving”, “praise” “offering”, and “sacrifice”. In Psalm 50:23, the Psalmist tells us that we glorify God through the sacrifice of giving thanks.
Biblically speaking, a sacrifice is a gift or offering given to God. In the Old Testament, a sacrifice was usually associated with the killing of an animal to pay for sins. An offering is a gift of money, possessions, or time one gives God as an expression of love. In the context of the Old Testament, God’s people brought animals to the altar as a blood trade for sins forgiven.
Today, we do not need to search for a perfect, unblemished lamb and bind its legs as it screeches in fear to an altar. Christ went to the altar as the last lamb. Because of Him, we are free. Free from sin. Free to choose to offer our time, possessions, and money. Free to thank Him and free not to.
I have not lost a child nor a home to fire, and I do not presume to comprehend such pain. Yet, I have experienced crippling sorrow. I have stood before the altar as hot tears dripped, barely able to excavate an offering of thanks to God.
It is in this place, I choose to surrender. It is here where I yield my pain to refrains of praise. It is here where my sweet Savior accepts my sacrifice of praise and receives glory through it.
I dedicate myself to thanks-living because gratitude truly changed my life. This practice has switched my mindset from melancholy to hope-filled. I keep a thankful journal and most days, I jot down a few blessings. To this date, I have 7,248 entries. Even in my dimmest days, God’s light shines on something I may thank Him for.
My friend, are you in a place where mining for blessings seems impossible? Are you overwhelmed by the news of the day? Perhaps hot tears drip often due to loss or disappointment? I urge you to come to the altar. Offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, however slight, however hard. In doing so, you bring glory to God and take the smallest step to turn your mindset from melancholy to hope-filled.
We lift up those who have lost much. Those who grieve. Please have mercy on them. Lead them and lead us to the altar of hope and gratitude by the power of your spirit.
In Jesus name,
It’s the praising life that honors Me.