by Rick Warren — November 28, 2017
“Giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me” (Psalm 50:23 NLT).
Anytime you thank someone, you honor that person. For example, if I say to my wife, “Honey, I’m so grateful for that great Thanksgiving dinner you made,” I just honored my wife. When I say to her mom, “I want to thank you for having Kay so I could marry her,” I am honoring her mom. When I say to someone, “Thank you for opening the door for me” or “Thank you for coming to the service,” I am honoring that person. An expression of gratitude is a way of honoring another person.
The Bible says this is also true about God: “Giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me” (Psalm 50:23 NLT). When you sacrifice by giving thanks, you are sacrificing your time. It takes time to think of things to be grateful for.
My wife likes me to say, “Thank you” for the things she does for me. But if that’s all I ever did, she’d begin to wonder, “Does he really love me, or does he just love me for the things I do for him?” At some point, I have to start moving to a higher level of thanksgiving, which is not just thanking my wife for what she does but thanking her for who she is. That’s a deeper, more mature kind of thanksgiving.
If the only time your kids thanked you was when you gave them their allowance, you’d begin to wonder, “Do they love me, or do they just love the money?”
If all you do is thank God for letting you get into this class or for giving you this food or for all the things he does for you, it’s worth asking yourself, “Do I really love God, or do I just love the things that God does for me?”
We must learn to thank God not just for what he does but who he is: “God, thank you that your wisdom is greater than mine. Thank you that you know what will make me happy more than I do. Thank you that you’re consistent when I’m inconsistent. Thank you for your love and your mercy, and that you’re always fair. Thank you that even when I don’t understand something, you have my best interest at heart.”
The kind of gratitude that goes beyond “Thank you, God, for our food” to “Thank you, God, for who you are” honors God, and it gives you deeper spiritual roots.