Worshippping God By Giving Thanks
Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.
Worship means to pay honor or esteem to one who is deserving. The first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims gave thanks to God for His protection and provision. Of the 102 passengers on the Mayflower, 42 died the first winter (1621). What did they have to be thankful for? They were in a hostile wilderness with severe weather conditions. While in England, they had been imprisoned, hounded, and financially ruined for the sake of the faith. Now in the new world, they were grateful for the privilege to worship the true and living God, who is worthy of the highest honor.
1 Thessalonians 1:9: “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” It is through God that we have salvation and eternal blessings. These are all unachievable by human means. God is worthy of our worship. Worship consists of giving God that which is due Him.
Psalms 29:2: “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” This worship comes whether in times of plenty or times of sorrow (Job 1:20-22, 2:9-10). We must not lose sight of this concept. Circumstances should not dictate our worship.
We worship God by offering spiritual sacrifices. 1 Peter 2:5: “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” What do these spiritual sacrifices include?
1. Giving God ourselves (Psalm 100:3b, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 2:10). Romans 12:1: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” We give ourselves to God by acknowledging who He is and submitting to His will. Consider the example of Ruth (Ruth 1:16-17). She chose God even though she would experience hardships and prejudices as a Moabites’ widow in Israel. She chose to give herself to God. This is the first step in worship.
2. Giving of ourselves to service (Psalm 100:2a, Matthew 4:10). Our service to God is a form of worship to the Lord and a means of being a living sacrifice to God. Romans 12:2: “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.” We should joyfully give ourselves over to this service. Consider the example of Joseph (Genesis 39:1-6). Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers. As a slave he devoted himself to doing his best for the Lord. When challenged to sin (Genesis 39:9), he would not sin against God. Worship involves faithful service even in difficult circumstances.
3. Giving of thanks to God (1 Corinthians 15:57, 1 Thessalonians 5:8, Hebrews 13:5). Psalm 100:4: “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Our salvation along with all of the blessings we enjoy come from above. We should be known as people with an attitude of gratitude. Consider the example of Paul and Silas who were beaten and thrown into a Philippian jail. (Acts 16:19-25). They prayed and sang praises to God. After an earthquake occurred, they led the jailer and his family to the Lord.
4. Giving God our praise (Psalm 100:4, Colossians 3:15-17). This involves constantly giving God praise in word and in deed. When in doubt, ask yourself, “Does this give God the praise and glory due Him?” Consider the example of Moses and his father in law, Jethro (Exodus 18:7-12). Jethro went to meet Moses. He had heard all that the Lord had done in delivering the Israelites out of Egypt and from Pharaoh. They rejoiced in the goodness of the Lord.
5. Giving to others in God’s name (Matthew 25:34-40, Romans 12:13, Hebrews 13:16). Giving to the needs of others involves giving as He directs. This is well pleasing to God and in turn leads to God supplying our needs. Consider the example of the Philippians in Philippians 4:18: “But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.” As they met Paul’s needs, they were assured that God would meet their needs. Philippians 4:19: “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Despite hardships and heartaches, the Pilgrims understood the importance of giving thanks to God. We should likewise take time to thank and praise God.