Thursday, November 25, 2010


Have you ever wondered why we call them “holidays” (holy days) when our attention is most often turned toward ourselves? Would our celebration activities change if we stopped to consider that over-indulgence in food, drink, entertainment and meaningless conversations are self-serving rather than glorifying to God?

Father’s Word speaks of offering “sacrifices of thanksgiving”. I realize that Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice made once and for all, yet as His followers, we are called to be “holy and living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1). However, out of our abundance, our “generous” offering is often a bag of canned goods for the poor; rarely is there personal contact with those in need. Rather, our attention is turned toward “family gatherings” while those without loved ones spend the day alone. Instead of filling the day with praises to Jesus and encouraging one another in our journey of faith, we often ignore one another while singing praises to our favorite sport teams and cheering for our favorite player! At best, our conversations are seldom concentrated on being thankful.

Not only is there no scriptural direction to set aside one day a year to be thankful, isn’t it hypocritical to say that we are doing so when in reality the day is most often filled with worldliness, selfish-ambition and pride?

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world (1 John 2:16).

When scripture describes the activities of God’s people seeking to offer sacrifices of thankfulness we see:
Hearts that are softened to the ways of Jesus. - “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart ….” (Psalm 51:17).
A community of believers renewed in their thinking and surrendered to the will of God. - “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).
Tongues speaking only that which pleases and glorifies God - “By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).
Generosity - Do not neglect doing good and sharing: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:16).

This is hardly a picture of the “traditional thanksgiving celebrations” familiar to most of us! Instead, this is “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father…” (James 1:27).

My encouragement is this:
If we choose to set aside a day and call it “Thanksgiving”,
at the very least we must ask the Spirit of Jesus to search our hearts,
expose anything that is not worthy of Him
seek His power to honor our Lord Jesus in all that we say and do.

“He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me” (Ps 50:23).


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