A Thanks-Giving

About a month ago I was approach by the Senior Minister at NCC asking if I would be available to preach the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Because of my fondness of preaching, I immediately accepted the offer and thought nothing of it.  Last week I went through the normal preparation process, getting everything all lined out, and then Saturday morning hit…I wake up and feel like…well, sick.  We’ll just leave it at that. So needless to say, I was still sick Sunday morning, meaning I did not get to preach.  So I thought I would share with all of you my thoughts this week of Thanksgiving…

It is interesting how we spend this Thanksgiving time. We set this time to remember what we are thankful for, while indulging ourselves with tons of food, sitting on the couch watching hours upon hours of television, getting up at the butt crack of dawn to go out and get torched off at people trying to get the best prices, while still going home to watch more television and doing absolutely nothing.  I tell ya, we sure to know how to be thankful…

I wonder if we are missing something.  If we were to read through the pages of the Old Testament, I think we see a different kind of thanks-giving going on.  Noah, after the flood, made a sacrifice to God out of gratitude (Gen. 8:20).  After being delivered from the slavery of the Egyptians, Jethro made a sacrifice of thanks to God (Ex. 18:11-12).  I could keep going, but I won’t, I think we get the picture.

We do have to look at what they were sacrificing with these offerings. There is a list of requirements that an offering must meet, and so this was not just some random animal that they choose to offer, this was the prime of the flock.  These animals were the best.  These people were actually sacrificing something here, they were giving up the best of their flocks. But through the sacrificing of these animals, they would also remember that God was taking care of them.

But Matt…(you may say), we are not under the old covenant anymore, we do not have to offer sacrifices anymore!  Yes, you are correct, we are no longer under the old covenant anymore, but I would have to challenge you to read through the book of Hebrews. Let’s look at two verses here. Hebrews 13:15-16 says:  ‘Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.’ (NIV)  The writer still supports giving sacrifices!  We still should give sacrifices, but probably of a different kind.

I don’t think that it is too off for us to think that we should offer our thanks to God in a way that He approves. Just as God did not approve of just any animal in the Old Testament, I do not think that He approves of us offering our ‘thanks’ the way we do. I think, as we go into this time of Thanksgiving, we should give thanks by giving a sacrifice, for this pleases God. Whether it be a financial sacrifice, or a sacrifice of time or energy, it is good for us to sacrifice some of the things that are important to us and that we hold dear, time and money.

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