Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC 

Psalm 107:21-22
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
    for his wondrous works to the children of man!
22  And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

It’s that time of year again, time for Thanksgiving. Every year on the last Thursday in November we gather together with family and friends to give thanks to God. We stuff ourselves to the brim with turkey, dressing, and all the fixings (sweet potato casserole, can I get a witness!). Then we kick back in the recliner to watch a little football and end up in a turkey coma for an hour or two. 

On this day we also take some time to consider all we are thankful for. Typically we talk about things like health, job, family, possessions, and church. These things are certainly from the Lord if we’ve put Him first in our lives, but true thanksgiving to the Lord is shown much more by how we live our daily lives than it is by what we express one day per year. 

The late great Adrian Rogers once said this, 

There’s nothing wrong, of course, with being thankful for all God has given us. But we need to do more than just offer thanksgiving to God. We need to do some thanks-living for God. 

Thanks-living, that’s a great way to explain what true thankfulness is all about. The Scripture talks about offering sacrifices of thanksgiving to the Lord. A sacrifice was a tangible expression of faith in the Old Testament, but sacrifices are still spoken of in the New Testament as well. Jesus gave himself as the Lamb of God for the atonement of our sins once for all mankind. An animal sacrifice is no longer needed for our salvation, so what specific sacrifices are we to offer? 

First, we are to offer a sacrifice of ourselves. Romans 12:1 tells us to offer our bodies a living and holy sacrifice to the Lord. Just as the sacrifices of old were slain and placed on the altar in worship to the Lord, so every morning I must die to my desires and present my life in worship to Him. My thoughts, words, and actions then truly express my gratitude to my Heavenly Father. 

Second, we are to offer the sacrifice of praise. Hebrews 13:15 says we must continually offer up a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. True praise is born out of a heart of gratitude. Daily we should praise the Lord for who He is and what He has done. That’s real thanksgiving.

Thirdly, we are to offer the sacrifice of our material possessions. In Hebrews 13 right after our previous verse it goes on to say we should do good and share what we have for God is pleased with such sacrifices. Our attitude of gratitude is expressed greatly by how we give of what we have to bless God’s church and others in need. 

Thanks-living….pretty novel idea huh? This Thanksgiving let’s do more than just go around the dinner table and talk about what we’re thankful for. Let’s show with our lives what we’re thankful for. Let’s continually praise God. Let’s lay down our will for His, and let’s give of our material possessions to bless others. That’s what we call Thanks-living. 

Father God, I am truly thankful for all you have given to me. Help me today and every day to express my gratitude to You with more than words. You are God and You deserve my total devotion. In Jesus name I pray, amen. 

Hebrews 13:15-16
Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.