Journal Entry // February 21, 2021
The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!”Psalm 50:23 ESV
A sacrifice of thanksgiving. This is not the first time I have read this phrase in the last month or so. I think I have probably journaled about it previously as well. It is an interesting phrase that the Psalmist uses to emphasize his point about what we bring to God in worship. We tend to think that what is most important is the outward expression of our worship or the object we bring in particular. I want to bring my sacrifice to the Lord in a manner that I deem appropriate.
This may look like:
• Daily reading the Bible, praying
• Going to church
• Giving of my financial resources
• Giving of my time and energy
• Giving up personal enjoyments
There are a thousand different things I can do or give over to the Lord as a spiritual act of worship and a sacrifice. Good and right things that would honor the Lord. But he is more concerned with my heart. My sacrifice needs to be presented with thanksgiving. Not just a quick thank you and move on, but a genuine heartfelt thankfulness to the Lord. This is what brings glory to the Lord.
There are too many examples in the Bible to demonstrate this, but my first thought is Jesus in the temple area watching the people give money as their sacrifice. Was he impressed by anyone who gave a large sum? Was he impressed by anyone who fulfilled their duty and gave because that is what was required? No, he was dlighted by a quiet woman who gave a very small and insignificant sum. Jesus tells us that what was Delightful about the gift was her faith. While the others gave of their plenty, she gave out of her poverty and gave all she had. I think we miss the point of the lesson if we walk away from this story thinking that we have to give until it hurts or that we have to give in such a way that only God can provide. I don’t think that is necessarily wrong, but I think the point of that story is that the woman gave with thankfulness trusting in faith. I’m sure she worried about money and where her next meal was even coming from, but she gave what she had even if it meant doing without. She gave because she was thankful. Her heart was sensitive to the working of God in her life and she was thankful. And in her thankfulness she gave her money to the Lord.
This is the significant part for me. Because it’s not just about the money or the gift or the sacrifice. Surely what we give is important, but what is overwhelmingly more important is my heart. Is my heart saturated with thankfulness? Like Able, am I coming to the Lord with my best? Like David, can I say that my sacrifice will cost me? In my thankfulness, I will give to the Lord. I will express my thankfulness to the Lord in all manner of sacrifice through discipline.
For in my thankfulness, I should order my life rightly. So moving from my inward heartfelt attitude to my outward expression of love and thanksgiving. I need to express my faith and love to the Lord with thanksgiving. They go hand in hand. I can’t be thankful, truly thankful, without expressing it joyously. Not just in words of praise but in expressions of sacrifice. I should give my life to the joyful sacrifice of thanksgiving through faith and trust.
For he brings salvation to me through Christ. He cultivates thanksgiving in my heart through his steadfast love and goodness. He alone is worthy of praise and thanksgiving.