Giving Thanks to God

Published by DonDavidson on

The Old Testament specified at least ten different types of offerings in addition to the tithe, such as the burnt offering, the peace offering, the sin offering, and the guilt offering. One such offering was the thanksgiving offering, which consisted of a male or female animal, without defect, from the cattle, sheep, or goats. The breast and the right thigh of the thanksgiving offering belonged to the priests, the fat and the kidneys were burned up, and the rest could be eaten by the person presenting the offering. The thanksgiving offering also included unleavened bread, which belonged to the priests.

So giving thanks to God was part of the Jewish religion from very early on. If you want to read about the thanksgiving offering, you can find the specifics in Leviticus 7:11-15 and 22:29-30.

Luke 17:11-19 tells the story of Jesus and ten lepers. Jesus told them to show themselves to the priest, and along the way they were healed of their disease, but only one returned to thank Him and to praise God for this healing—and that person was a Samaritan, a non-Jewish pagan. We aren’t told why the others failed to do so.

I don’t think we should assume that the nine were ungrateful. But they never expressed their gratitude. One of the things I had to learn to do when I was a much younger man was to express my positive feelings. For example, do you think your child is smart? Do you think your spouse is attractive? Then tell them. How will they know how you feel if you don’t tell them?

Gratitude is like that. Did a spouse, a child, or a friend do something nice for you today? Then thank them. We all like to be recognized and appreciated. And they won’t know you appreciated what they did if you don’t thank them.

How often do we fail to thank God for his many blessings? Giving thanks to God should always be part of our prayers, because we have so many things to be grateful to Him for—like life, health, and enough food to eat; like His mercy, grace, and forgiveness; the manger, the cross, and the empty tomb; our parents, our children, our church family; simple pleasures like good music or a beautiful sunset, and the smell of a fresh rose or baking bread. How about the feel of rain on a warm day, or the warmth of a fire on a cold day? I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea.

While you’re making your list of things to thank God for, Paul gives us another in Colossians 1:1-6: other Christians. There are about two and one-half billion Christians in the world today. Have you ever thanked God for saving so many people and helping them grow in the faith? What a lonely and miserable place this world would be if you and I were the only followers of Jesus—if no one else loved God or tried to live the Christian life. So add that to your prayers of thanksgiving today.


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