The Power of Thanksgiving - A Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

Have you ever thought about thanksgiving, as in expressing gratitude to God, as an offering?

In the old testament, it was law to offer sacrifices of animals to show thanksgiving to God.  These animals had to be perfect, no deformities, no blemishes, these animals had to pass inspections more critical than the ones judges perform at dog shows! The person making these thanksgiving sacrifices couldn't just go into their fields and pick out any animal, they had to prepare these animals for such a time as this. There was special care given to make sure these future sacrifices were perfect. The people had to put thought into this sacrifice of Thanksgiving.  These were considered "worthy offerings", so whatever was offered in sacrifice to God had to be without blemish, otherwise it should not be accepted.

 Leviticus 22:29 (AKJV) says:
"And when you will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, offer it at your own will." This wasn't something they could do begrudgingly, this had to come from their heart. Remember, God sees our hearts. We can pretend and put on airs for folks around us and usually can get away with it, but God sees our hearts, He hears our thoughts. We can't fake it with Him.

The Pulpit Commentary puts an offering of thanksgiving like this:  "Offer unto God thanksgiving. The one offering acceptable to God is praise and thanksgiving out of a pure heart. This was designed to be the accompaniment of all sacrifice, and was the ground of acceptability in every case where sacrifice was acceptable". 

To sacrifice is defined as surrendering a possession as an offering to God. When was the last time you sacrificed anything to God?  Thank God, we don't have to sacrifice animals anymore to please Him, He sent His son to the cross as the ultimate and final flesh sacrifice, so that we might be saved from His righteous wrath on our sins.  What possession do you have that you can sacrifice? 

What I am talking about is the sacrifice that is inconvenient, or uncomfortable.  How about getting real with God? We are so good at hiding under our "I'll do it myself" attitudes, that we never recognize our need for Him. So many times we don't even recognize the blessings He gives us, let alone thank Him for those blessings. We say a prayer over our meals that goes something like this: "Dear God, thank you for the food we have before us...... Amen". We barely put thought behind our words.  That's hardly a true thanksgiving, let alone a sacrifice.

The holiday called Thanksgiving is quickly coming upon us.  Lets not go out into our fields and grab just any sacrificial offering.  Let's begin to prepare our sacrifice now.  Put thought into what you are thankful for and make a sacrifice to be inconvenient this holiday. Instead of a quick prayer before you dig into all that good food, take time to offer a sacrifice of heart felt thanksgiving to God.

Psalm 100 (NIV)

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.


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