At first glance, the words sacrifice and thanksgiving have little connection, yet Scripture combines them in one phrase. Sacrifice brings to mind images of painful relinquishment or costly service, whereas thanksgiving conveys a joyous response prompted by overflowing abundance and blessings.
Generally, thanksgiving can be thought of as a verbal expression of gratitude for something good. In public worship services, we thank the Lord for His blessings with prayers and songs of praise, but these hardly seem like a sacrifice.
To gain understanding of this concept, let’s consider some costly ways of giving thanks to God. Words can be cheap, but a godly life given wholly to the Lord is extremely valuable to Him and sacrificial for us. This is not about perfection but rather a heart that is bent toward obeying the Lord and a life surrendered to His will and purpose. Those living this kind of self-less, Christ-centered life can offer genuine thanks which delights God’s heart.
Giving is another expression of gratitude that is costly. Since the Lord is the source of all provision and wealth, our grateful response should be to give Him a portion of all He has given us. Generosity is a good barometer of the authenticity of gratitude.
Offering thanks to God begins with words, but like children who grow in appreciation as they mature, so we should be growing in expressions of gratitude to the Lord. Give Him your whole life as a sacrifice of thanksgiving—you’ll experience amazing benefits because you can never outgive God.
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