“I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving…” (Psalm 116:17).
From this verse I get the impression we offer thanksgiving with difficulty or under hardship—because we should do it, not necessarily because we want to do it.
Early in my walk with the Lord, my expression of thanks depended on my circumstances. When favorable, my heart overflowed with gratitude and praise. I found it easy to rejoice and thank the Lord.
I offered thanksgiving as a reward for his being good to me and withheld it if I thought he hadn’t treated me fairly. Then I read “in every thing give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
In everything? That’s expecting a lot. So I gave thanks as a formality, with great effort, begrudgingly.
Reading those beautiful hymns of praise, the Psalms, I saw how others handled this.
Those writers offered thanks and praise to God in spite of circumstances, with gratitude for his marvelous works in the past and confidence in his promises for the future. They praised him for his very nature—he is good, gracious, righteous, merciful, slow to anger, rich in compassion and forgiveness.
If that weren’t enough, they praised him simply because he deserved it. The Lord God is worthy of honor and exaltation.
Regardless of my circumstances, he is still good, gracious, righteous, merciful, slow to anger, rich in compassion and forgiveness–and so worthy of honor and exaltation.
Giving thanks is a decision. And sometimes it’s a sacrifice. Even so…
“My heart, is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise” (Psalm 57:7).
(Adapted from Cabbages and Kings—Reflections on Living Abundantly in Christ)
Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books, including the best-selling Twice Pardoned and award-winning I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life. She’s secretary of Christian Authors Network and a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association and Christian Women in Media Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.