It’s Thanksgiving morning and I have much to be grateful for. We are surrounded by extended family and daughter Katy from D.C. showed up to surprise us yesterday.
But part of a verse has been running through my head this Thanksgiving week.
“offer a sacrifice of praise”
Like I’m watching an unsteady toddler, tipsy and bumping an ottoman then lurching into a chair, I feel like I want to catch this verse and make it safer.
Last night as we sang worship hymns I thought of friends and family for whom praise may be difficult. If I read this verse in other circumstances I would be decidedly ticked off at God.
I think of…
Friends in a rocky marriage
Those mourning loss of loved ones
A dear one with ALS
I would be like, “SACRIFICE?? MORE SACRIFICE??”
How are they praising God this Thanksgiving? I don’t believe “a sacrifice of praise” means inauthenticity. Not a “fake it til you make it” deal. So what is the genuine response of “a sacrifice of praise”
Here’s the context.
For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.
Although “fake it til you make it” doesn’t seem Jesus-y, it does seem there’s a call to move past our gut emotional response to circumstances, and instead choose the discipline of “in spite of”.
- In spite of these circumstances I praise God because I can look forward to eternity with Him. (it is through Jesus we can do this)
- In spite of these circumstances I praise God for His past faithfulness.
- In spite of these circumstances I praise God for His character daily – He will never leave me. He redeems my sin. He loves me no matter what.
Here’s the thing, though… It’s not just my friends in challenging situations who may struggle with a “sacrifice of praise.” Maybe it’s you or me, in a season when things are pretty hunky dory.
One definition of sacrifice is: an act of offering to a deity something precious.
One thing that is precious to us is our sense of self-sufficiency, our autonomy. It’s the root of our sin, right? Like the lurching toddler above, we want to declare “I do it myself!”
Especially when things are going well, for some of us, “a sacrifice of praise” may be laying aside our pride and admitting “All that I am and all that I have come from You Lord. I praise You because You alone are worthy.”
In the service last night we sang the hymn that has become our family’s. I pictured many friends and family as I sang the last stanza:
Pardon for sin, and a peace that endureth, Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide’
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine with ten-thousand beside!
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see; all I have needed thy had hath provided –
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!