Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Thanksgiving (04/18/05)
TITLE: Thanksgiving Is An Attitude As Well As A Form Of Worship
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When an expected “thank you” is not expressed in our interpersonal relationships we take immediate notice and offense. Should we not be just as sensitive in the spiritual realm when we do not express our thanks to God?
The thanksgiving offering (Lev. 7: 12) was a formal part of the worship rituals during the Old Testament dispensation. The problem with any ritual is that inappropriate exaltation of the elements or lack of focus through habitual familiarity can distort or diminish the significance of what the overt ritual represents (Matt.9: 13/Hebrews 10:8).
The thanksgiving ritual & other sacrifices practiced during the Old Testament dispensation were forever fulfilled (Hebrews 10:10) by the only true and acceptable sacrifice (the Humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ) on the one and only true altar (His cross).
[The only ritual that we as Church Age believers are commanded (Luke 22:19) to participate in is the Lord’s Supper (Communion) that replaced the Passover celebration of the Old Testament (Matt.26: 17). This ritual is to be practiced in remembrance (Luke 22:19), not a reproduction, of the one and only sacrifice on the one and only altar by the one and only High Priest (the Lord Jesus Christ) nearly 2,000 years ago.]
Although the thanksgiving ritual of the Old Testament has been discontinued in the Church Age, the principle of giving thanks to God remains a part of the true worship of God (Col. 1: 12/Col. 3:17/Eph. 5:20).
We, by nature, are not thankful beings. We are self-centered and often our expression of “thanks” is no more than a form of manipulation or approval when we when have gotten our way in a situation. The elevation of self and the arrogance it produces prevents us from being genuinely thankful. In fact, one of the reasons we lack and therefore do not express genuine gratitude is because we feel in our hearts that we are deserving of everything we receive and in some cases, it is even owed to us!
God promises and provides us with many things, but owes us nothing. Every breath we take is a gift from God. Our earthly departure could be as close as the next (anticipated) beat of our heart for any one of us. Healthy people die every day and at all ages for a variety of reasons. These earthly gifts are worth remembering when we get into a self-pity mode and ignorantly ask what God has done for us lately in our day-to-day experience. Consider the earthly significance of your next breath or beat of your heart.
Our thanksgiving to God should not be just something we do as a manifestation of good manners, but an attitude that we possess and express every day. If we do not celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter in our souls every day, we are not focused on the spiritual life to which God has called all believers to experience.
Failing to say “Thank You” reveals our ignorance just as complaining reveals our areas of weakness.
When we consider where we would be without Him, in both this life and Eternity, we have all we need to develop and express an attitude of thanksgiving. If God did nothing more for us than what He did on the cross, we would still have every reason to be eternally grateful and realize that we have no grounds to complain about anything in this lifetime (Phil.2: 14). Our attitude in times of great adversity and even our perspective of death presents opportunities to bring maximum glory to God. The glorification of God and not the promotion of self is the very purpose that we were created for in the first place.
Like spoiled children, we are so easily upset when things don’t go our way. How soon we forget what God has already done for us (Romans 5:8) in the past, what he promised to do for us in the present time (Matt. 6: 33), and what He has in store for us in Eternity (1Cor.2: 9).
Through the mentoring of God the Holy Spirit, may we bring to mind all that God has done, is doing, and will do for us so that we may be truly grateful and express our thanksgiving.
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