“A sacrifice of thanksgiving is what honours Me…” – Psalm 50:23
Now I don’t know about you, but the first time I read this verse I thought I understood every word (…take note: the keyword there was thought).

‘Got it God, sweet, next verse’ I naively thought as I went to turn the page of my Bible. But alas, not this time… I felt like God wanted me to go back and re-read this verse until I understood what He was trying to say. ‘Sacrifice’, ‘thanksgiving’ and ‘honour’ are words we hear in church circles so frequently that we sometimes lose sight of the significance they carry in the Bible – guilty. So I re-read…

A sacrifice of thanksgiving is what honours Me.
A sacrifice of thanksgiving is what honours Me.
A sacrifice of thanksgiving is what honours Me.

It wasn’t until the third or fourth time that I realised the words ‘sacrifice’ and ‘thanksgiving’ are quite contrary in nature. Sacrifices are thought of as negative, where we have to give up something that would pain us to let go of. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is thought of as positive – the act of being grateful. I know, wow Captain Obvious, you’re a genius! But bear with me… so if a sacrifice alludes to the pain of letting go, and thanksgiving to the simple act of saying thank you, why would we ever come across a situation where we would have to painfully thank God?

Lightbulb.

It was then that I felt God simply say ‘When does thanking Me become a sacrifice?’ In other words, when would it hurt us to have to say thank you to God? Captain Obvious checking back in – thanksgiving becomes a sacrifice when it is the last thing we want to do; when we feel like we have nothing to be thankful for.

Often, when the tides of life rise around us and we feel that we’re sinking, our human instinct tells us to blame God.
Are you kidding me?
Why would you do this to me, God?
(Or my personal favourite)
Do YOU even know what I’m going through right now?!

Isn’t it funny how quickly we can lose sight of the sovereignty of God when we take our eyes off Him and place them on our circumstances instead?

This was a real heart-hitter for me, because at this particular time a good few years ago I had somehigh sea circumstances and to be quite honest, the last thing I wanted to do was stop and thank God for that. But this was when the second part of the verse came to life for me – it’s all about honour. Saying thank you becomes a sacrifice when it requires us to rise above these tides and actively FIND the things in our lives to be grateful for. The ability to shift your mindset from negative to positive, from loss to gain, is what truly brings honour to God. How? Because you are choosing to take your eyes off circumstances and place them back on to a sovereign God who is already present in your tomorrow. By doing this, you honour the fact that He is, and always has been, in control.

Every valley teaches us a life lesson that enables us to appreciate the mountain tops all the more. Are you currently in a mountain top season? Take a moment to reflect on and thank God for the trials that you overcame along the way, which ultimately shaped your character. Are you in a valley season? Take a moment to reflect on and thank God all the more; for His faithfulness in the past, for the battles He entrusts you with to conquer, and for the lessons you are currently learning that you wouldn’t have elsewhere.

Is it worth it? Absolutely. Because it is this sacrifice of thanksgiving that truly brings Him honour, and in the Bible He promises to honour those who honour Him.

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