November 21, 2014
By Skip Heitzig
They say that when you complain, half the people who hear you aren't interested, and the other half are just glad you finally got what's coming to you!
As Christians, we are called to have an attitude of gratitude. Interestingly, our celebration of the holiday called Thanksgiving has a precedent in the Old Testament.
The ancient Israelites worshiped God through a series of five offerings: the burnt offering, the grain offering, the peace offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering. The last two were compulsory; you had to do those. But the first three were voluntary; you did them only if you wanted to. And so those three offerings were important to God; they were called "a sweet aroma to the Lord" (Leviticus 1:9).
The burnt offering signified the consecration of one's self to God, and the grain offering was about the dedication of one's service to God.
The peace offering is my favorite; it's the celebration of salvation. Like our Thanksgiving, the people gathered together and shared a meal. They brought a portion of it as a sacrifice, and a portion of it went to the priest. They took the rest of it home, cooked it up, and had friends and family over to thank the Lord for what He had done.
So, on Thanksgiving we gather with family and friends and share a peace offering, thanking the Lord for His goodness and kindness. And if ever there was a national holiday in this country that symbolized a biblical worldview, it is the celebration of Thanksgiving.
This year, I invite you to read one of the psalms of thanksgiving with your family. Try Psalm 100, which begins, "Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!" Today, we would say, "Give Him a shout-out!"
In the New Testament, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 gives a commandment: "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." So, if you've ever wondered, "What's God's will for my life?" that's part of it. Be a thankful person—not a griper, a grumbler, or a complainer. Learn to count those blessings and recite them. Make it your habit and practice to give thanks.
The greatest thing we have to be thankful for is what Jesus Christ did for us in shedding His blood on the cross 2,000 years ago. Now, that's worth a shout-out!
The writer of Hebrews said, "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe" (Hebrews 12:28, NIV).
This peace offering that we celebrate once a year, this Thanksgiving feast, should be centered on gratitude for our salvation. The kingdom that we've inherited will last forever. The joy that we get from time to time in our Christian walk will be maxed out to the full, and in eternity, it will never end. That's also worth a shout-out!
May you have a blessed Thanksgiving!
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