Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God,
and keep the vows you made to the Most High.
Psalm 50:14, NLT*
Usually our thanks is a spontaneous response to something that delights us. It’s sincere and heart-felt. It costs us nothing.
But is there more? In Bible times, the people of Israel had a regular schedule of sacrifices and offerings. You didn’t just sacrifice when you felt like it, although you could bring extra if you were especially thankful.
I keep a gratitude journal, but I don’t write in it every day. Not a very regular sacrifice, and it’s not that God isn’t active on those days. It’s that I forget to take notes, or more often that I forget to take note. I don’t see what He’s doing. I’ve forgotten to look.
There’s another aspect to this sacrifice: the Apostle Paul tells us to give thanks in all things. Even in the ones we don’t like and wish we’d never experienced. Ann Voskamp calls this the “hard eucharisteo” and her book, One Thousand Gifts, shows how important this intentional, teeth-gritted or tear-streaked thanksgiving is.
We may not be able to thank God for the pain, but we can always thank Him for His presence with us in it and for His power to make it count for something.
God our Shepherd, our Provider and Protector, forgive us for our ungrateful hearts and for the times we take Your gifts for granted. Open our eyes daily to see the many opportunities to give You thanks. Delight us with Your presence. And strengthen us to thank You in the hard times too.
*New Living Translation (NLT)Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.