Have you caught yourself doing it yet? Like me, have you allowed your focus to be pulled away from true thanksgiving?
Yesterday our family headed to the grocery store. (I’m not sure why we thought the Sunday afternoon before Thanksgiving would be a good time to shop, but we found ourselves there anyway.) After wedging our way into a spot at the turkey freezer, we found the right bird. We finished shopping for the last few things we needed to complete our menu, and waited in line to pay. That’s when the sweet young checker asked me if I was ready for Thanksgiving.
“Yes! This should be my last trip. I started preparing a few weeks ago, but I think this finishes all of the shopping. Now it’s just cooking.”
We laughed and talked more. When we were done, I felt sort of dissatisfied. I became aware that my focus was in the wrong place. I was thinking “meal” (and serving) when I should have been thinking “thanksgiving” – as in me giving thanks to God. As in pouring out my heart to Him in worship for what He does and has done for me. As in giving myself to Him in response to His selfless giving to me.
As we’ve seen over the past month, Psalm 118 is so beautiful and it gives us so many reasons to be thankful.
26 “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!
We bless you from the house of the LORD.
27 The LORD is God,
and he has made his light to shine upon us.
Bind the festal sacrifice with cords,
up to the horns of the altar!
28 You are my God,
and I will give thanks to you;
you are my God; I will extol you.
“Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord…”
These are the very words that greeted our precious Savior when he entered Jerusalem the final time to give His life for us. But here, the Psalmist refers to the champion who has gone out and fought battles in the name of the Lord. So, the words apply to Jesus but also to those who serve in God’s name.
We can easily be overwhelmed or distracted with the details of serving and the serving itself. It’s easy, even in the joy of it all, to have our focus shift to the wrong perspective.
- But when we serve in God’s name, we are blessed and we bless God.
- When we focus on His light, everything else becomes becomes clear.
We Believers can join together in procession to the “horns of the altar” with a joyful heart, worshiping, exalting, and praising God! On Thanksgiving, as on all other days, our focus should be set on glorifying Jesus through the giving of ourselves in willing sacrifice to God. (Rom 12:1) Yes, on the altar we place ourselves—to the God who is the source of everything we have and to whom we should ever be thankful!
I love these words in reference to Psalm 118:27 by Charles Spurgeon:
“The sacrifice which we would present in honour of the victories of our Lord Jesus Christ is the living sacrifice of our spirit, soul, and body. We bring ourselves to his altar, and desire to offer him all that we have and are.” ~ Charles Spurgeon
Yes! All that we have and all that we are!
How can we give ourselves? By giving the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving (Heb 13:15) and by devoting ourselves wholeheartedly to our God and Savior!
“Devotion is the mother, and she hath four daughters.
Constancy: “Bind the sacrifice.”
Fervency: Bind it “with cords.”
Wisdom: Bind it “to the altar.”
Confidence: Even to the “horns” of the altar.
—Thomas Adams, Puritan clergyman
So, rather than keeping our minds on our to-do lists, meal prepping, and getting the house cleaned, let’s create a quiet space in our minds and hearts (and homes, too?) to give thanks and worship to God as we give Him ourselves in True Thanksgiving for His salvation, light, goodness, and love. Let us give ourselves to God in constancy, fervency, wisdom, and confidence!
Has your focus been cloudy? How can you present yourself to God as a sacrifice ready to give thanks?