This is a partial repeat of a prior Thanksgiving post but still good to meditate upon and as a Thanksgiving sacrifice it is all centered around the greatest sacrifice of all; that being the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the sins of His people. The sacrifices of thanksgiving are also a sweet smelling savour in the nostrils of God just as the sacrifice of Christ which is the greatest example of love that ever transpired. “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” (Eph. 5:2). Thanksgiving is more than Black Friday sales and feasting on a turkey or ham. May we all ask ourselves what we are thankful for and it shouldn’t be hard to come up with something. Consider this thought posted by Elder David Wise as you read the following: “I read a devotional today that asked the question, “What if God only blessed you today with what you thanked Him for yesterday?” What a sobering and convicting question, and I’m afraid I won’t get too many blessings today if that were the case!” We always get better than we deserve.
This is the week of the observance of the Thanksgiving holiday that is usually identified with Turkey and Dressing and football games along with gatherings of family and friends. There is more to Thanksgiving than those things. We are told in scripture, especially is the Psalms, to praise the Lord for His wonderful works toward the children of men. This is done with sacrifice and that is really what the word “thanksgiving” means; however, how many of us realize that thanksgiving is a sacrifice?
The Psalmist identifies praising the Lord for His wonderful works with the sacrifice of thanksgiving. “And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.” (Psalm 107:22). The servant that had been loosed from his bonds declared what he needed to do for this blessing: “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.” (Psalm 116:17). True thanksgiving involves sacrifice. It is not the sacrifice of animals but it is the sacrifice of self to the will of God. We are told to present our bodices as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. We are told to deny self and take up our cross and follow Christ and this involves daily sacrifice and not just a Sunday morning worship service for an hour and a half.
Jonah disobeyed the will of God and found himself in the belly of a whale but it was there that he learned much about thanksgiving as a sacrifice. He said, “But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.” (Jonah 2:9). Everyone knows, or should, that Jonah said “salvation is of the Lord” but how many connect it with the sacrifice of thanksgiving which Jonah said he would do with his voice which of itself is a sacrifice as the tongue is an unruly member which no man can tame. Paul writes concerning thanksgiving as a sacrifice: “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” (Heb. 13:15-16).
Let us verbally express our thanksgiving but let it be more than just saying thanks over a meal. Thanksgiving is a way of life; it is the way of an abundant life of joy and peace and it all revolves around the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!–November 22, 2017–Elder Larry Wise