As Christians, we should be the most grateful people on the planet. We know that God has given us life (John 5:21), has saved us (Psalm 13:5), and will never stop loving us (Psalm 107:8).
What incredible reasons to celebrate!
Although thanksgiving and gratitude should be a part of our lives all throughout the year, this week we’re given a special opportunity to minister to people who have Thanksgiving at the top of their minds.
As you study what the Bible says about being grateful this week, you’ll find many different ways to express an attitude of gratitude. Three of those ways appear more often in the Bible than other expressions of gratitude. In fact, it seems clear to me that they are God’s favorite ways for us to say “thank you.”
You can incorporate any—or all—of these expressions of gratitude into your worship service this weekend. They are everyday habits of a grateful heart.
What are these three habits?
- Singing to God.
Did you know God sings? The Bible says, “He will rejoice over you with joyful songs” (Zephaniah 3:17 NLT). You’ve never heard God sing to you, but in heaven you will. It’ll be the most beautiful sound you’ve ever heard—the sound of perfect joy.
God will sing to you because he loves you. It’s also an ideal way to say “thank you” to him. That’s why Psalm 147:7 says, “Sing out your thanks to the Lord” (NLT). When you gather with your church family to worship, you join with others to express gratitude to God for all he has done and all he will do in your lives.
You probably have people in your church who don’t sing because they don’t think they sing very well. (Pastor, maybe this is you!) Here’s a truth to share with your congregation: God loves how we sing to him. He wants to hear our voices because he gave them to us, and he loves to hear our praises.
- Giving back to God.
You know the story. Four hundred years ago, a group of European Christians who were persecuted for their faith came to North America to establish a colony so they could have religious liberty. Then, they established Thanksgiving, along with Native Americans, to thank God for what he had provided.
But America wasn’t the first country to institute Thanksgiving. Three thousand years earlier, God told the Israelites to establish a Thanksgiving festival every year called the Festival of Weeks, so they could celebrate God’s goodness. During this Thanksgiving festival, God told the Israelites to collect an offering: “Celebrate the Harvest Festival, to honor the Lord your God, by bringing him a freewill offering in proportion to the blessing he has given you . . . Do this at the one place of worship” (Deuteronomy 16:10-11 GNT).
God’s people have practiced a Thanksgiving offering for thousands of years. We practice it at Saddleback. You probably have practiced it at your church too. It’s an important part of how we say “thank you” to God.
God doesn’t need our money. He wants what our money represents—our heart. How we use our money shows our priorities. When we tell God “thank you” through our offering, we’re showing him he is the priority of our lives.
- Communion with God.
Depending upon your church tradition, you may call it Communion, the Lord’s Supper, or the Eucharist. The Bible tells us it’s one of the most important ways we express gratitude to God.
In fact, the term Eucharist literally means thanksgiving. It’s meant to be a model of what it looks like to express gratitude to God.
Twice in Paul’s description of the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23-37, he reminded readers to remember. Paul tells us to remember Jesus’ broken body and spilled blood so we can thank God for what he did to secure our salvation.
Paul wrote a chapter earlier, “The cup we use in the Lord’s Supper and for which we give thanks to God: when we drink from it, we are sharing in the blood of Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:16 GNT).
The Bible says we were dead and now we’re alive. That’s what we remember—and thank God for—when we partake of the Lord’s Supper.
That’s worth thanking the Lord for this weekend—and every day of our lives.