Those people honor me who bring me offerings to show thanks.
And I, God, will save those who do that.” Psalm 50:23, NCV
In yesterday’s online worship gatherings, we shared Psalm 50:23 as a promise of God’s deliverance through gratitude. In this verse, God promises to free us from the “narrow” places of anxiety, distress, and discouragement. The way to experience God’s gift is “offering to show thanks.” This is the miracle of Thanks-Giving.
Fortunately, we do not need to “feel” thankful to “be” thankful. Otherwise we could only experience God’s saving grace when we feel like it. For me, the feeling is fickle. It fluctuates day by day, even moment by moment. But I can choose to BE thankful no matter how I feel. God’s Word promises that as we offer thanks sacrificially whether or not we feel thankful, “I, God, will save those who do that.”
For a perfect picture of what this looks like in practice, may I encourage you to take a moment today to read Acts 16:23-34 (see below). Paul and Silas have no reason to feel thankful. They have been arrested, beaten, and thrown in prison. And yet we catch a glimpse of them in their horrific circumstances singing hymns and praising God. Their gratitude releases the Spirit of God to open the cell and not only free them, but also bring about the salvation of their jailer and his family.
This Thanksgiving week, I pray we as God’s people may practice giving thanks - no matter how we feel. We can focus on the loss of our traditions, on the lack of family gatherings, on our sense of loss and disorientation. Or we can choose to BE thankful - to bring God “offerings to show thanks.”
This year, perhaps more than any other, both we and those around us desperately need the salvation that results from Thanks-Giving.
You are loved.
Acts 16:23-34, NIV
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.