Reflections – 2012.11

The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving – November 2012

It is November and Thanksgiving is on my mind.

Actually, Psalm 50 has been on my mind. “Offer to God a sacrifice of
thanksgiving” (v. 14) and “The one who offers thanksgiving as his
sacrifice glorifies me.” (v. 23) … If you are like me, you struggle
with thanksgiving as a sacrifice.  I am even now thinking of how I
have taught my children and others of the need to be willing to
sacrifice your time, energy, money, entire self in the service of
Christ.  But in my desire to teach the importance of being fully
devoted to Christ, I forgot that the Christian must first be a person
who offers thanksgiving as a sacrifice, as it is one of the primary
sacrifices that God honors (alongside such sacrifices as a contrite
and broken heart – Psalm 51).  So how do we do this?  It seems that
thanksgiving must become an integral part of our prayer life.

I am purchasing for the book table in hopes that some will take the
bait a little booklet called “A Way to Pray” by the English pastor,
Matthew Henry (it is actually just a sampler of a larger work,
available online or in any of the various ways people now read).   In
this booklet, he outlines a method for prayer and some samples are
given.  From the website, I am including in this
Seedling article a snippet from his chapter on prayers of thanksgiving
(note the use of Scripture in prayer):

Thank God for Making you in His Image

We must give thanks that he has made us reasonable creatures, capable
of knowing, loving, serving, and enjoying him, and that he has not
made us like the beasts that perish.

We praise you, for we are fearfully and wonderfully made; and that our
souls, our nobler part, know very well; Psalm 139:14(ESV) for no man
knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is
in him. 1 Corinthians 2:11(ESV)

You have made us of that rank of beings which is a little lower than
the heavenly beings and is crowned with glory and honor; Psalm
8:5(ESV) for it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that
makes him understand; Job 32:8(ESV) and the spirit of a man is the
lamp of the LORD. Proverbs 20:27(ESV)

Our bodies are capable of being the temples of the Holy Spirit, 1
Corinthians 6:19(ESV) and our souls of having the Spirit of God dwell
in them; 1 Corinthians 3:16(ESV) we therefore glorify you with our
bodies and with our spirits, which are both yours. 1 Corinthians

You, Lord, have formed us for yourself, that we might declare your
praise. Isaiah 43:21(ESV)

If the Scripture (i.e., the Psalms and elsewhere) informs our prayers
of thanks like this, then I believe we are on the right track to
offering a pleasing sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord.

So let’s become a congregation that is recognized for its thankfulness
to God.  I am not even sure what that would look like – but I am sure
prayer is a good starting point.