It is the sacrifice that beats all other sacrifices. The offering which tops all other offerings. While the cost of such an offering is affordable to all, it appears that it is of unmeasurable value to God. The sacrifice of bulls, and rams, and birds pale in comparison to the offering of this treasure as God already owns every beast of the forest and the cattle on a thousand hills are His. But this offering is solely the offerer’s to give, rendered only as he or she determines. And while other offerings can be given mindlessly and solely out of habit, this sacrifice can only truly be given from the heart . . . a heart stirred of God to give to God . . . and thus, an offering that glorifies God.
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving . . . The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies Me . . .
(Psalm 50:14a, 23a ESV)
Through the songwriter of Psalm 50, the Mighty One, God the LORD, delivers some straight talk. It is God the judge who gathers His people around and says, in effect, Don’t think you can buy Me off with mindless good works. Don’t mistakenly think that your obedience, regardless of motive, somehow obligates Me to return the favor. Beware of thinking that I, the Almighty, am somehow pleased with rote sacrifice offered without thought. That I am moved by routine worship tendered apart from any heart engagement. Instead, it is the offering of thanks that truly honors Me.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been surprised a few times at the Spirit’s determination to move me towards thanksgiving. More than once, when the flesh just wanted to wallow in lament for what might have been, an unseen river instead flowed, washing away such self-absorbed desire and complaining, replacing it with an overwhelming sense of gratitude and appreciation for what has been. And it hits me this morning, that in sending that living water, God in His kindness allowed me in some small way to glorify Him.
. . . give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
(1Thessalonians 5:18 ESV)
I’m thinking that we are to give thanks no matter the situation because it evidences the reality of His sanctifying work in our lives. It’s not about somehow manufacturing some unnatural gratefulness. Instead, it’s about submitting to the supernatural moving of the Spirit as He gently provides context and orients afresh our hearts towards things above, invoking the mind of Christ in exalting His Father.
Giving thanks in all circumstances, offering thanksgiving as our sacrifice, glorifies God as it evidences the reality of His presence in our midst and His work in our lives.
No boasting in the offering of thanksgiving. For, while it is mine to give, it is sourced by His loving, gracious hand. Its genesis found in the cross and the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. Its beginning the unmerited favor of Father’s revelation and illumination of what it was for Him to give His Son as a once for all offering for my sin. Its prevailing presence a reminder that through the Spirit it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me and that He lives always to glorify the Father.
Through Him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name.
(Hebrews 13:15 ESV)
What a privilege to be allowed of the Creator to bring Him anything that would delight Him. What a gift that He would provide such an offering through His abiding presence in all life’s circumstance. What joy when we are enabled to offer such sacrifice in His courts.
A sacrifice of thanksgiving . . . the offering above all offerings.
By His grace. For His glory.