To Whom Do We Give Thanks
1 Chronicles 16:8-10 (NRSV) 8 O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples.
9 Sing to him, sing praises to him,
tell of all his wonderful works.
10 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Larry and I just returned from a visit up north to our son and daughter-in-law. As a pastor, I was asked to give thanks for our Thanksgiving meal and, of course, was glad to do so. It was a rare treat to visit our family in Maine, and we had a great time.
I have been thinking a lot about giving thanks. This particular scripture is an account of the festival celebrating the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. The praises offered here give us a model for the manner in which we should praise the Lord our God.
When we give thanks to God we are to call on His name. Too many people today, if they give thanks and praise at all, choose to thank the universe, or perhaps some unknown entity. I entered into a discussion on Facebook over the Thanksgiving holiday regarding the level of discomfort people who are not Christians are made to feel when dining with Christ followers. Whether they are atheists and have no belief at all, or agnostic and simply claim not to know enough to believe or disbelieve, they made it quite clear that they can hardly stand to be in the presence of Christian prayer.
Instead, they prefer to thank “Mother Earth,” (say yuck three times) or the “Source of all”, and any mention of Jesus, the Christ, sends them spinning. I stated I had a difficult time understanding how we give thanks to a being that has no name. You see, to me, one of the wonderful things about being a Christ follower is the intimacy of the relationship we are offered.
After hearing the point of view of those who have a great disdain for Christians and our traditions of praying before our meals, I purposed that from now on, if I am in a gathering where people of other faiths (or no faith) might be present, I will offer my prayer of thanks to my God, but preface my prayer by offering those who do not believe as I do a moment of silent prayer. You see, even though our challenge is to spread the gospel throughout the world, we will never make a difference by utilizing our faith as a stick with which to beat unbelievers over the head!
David had one of the most intimate relationships with God that can exist. He was the apple of God’s eye as we see in 1 Samuel 16. Was David perfect? We know he was not, yet he had a perfect love for God. When David called his people together to celebrate the return of the Ark, he did so with prayer and with singing, extolling God for all of His wonderful works. And, he reminded us that if we seek God with our hearts, then the necessary response is to praise Him with all of our hearts. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Father God, today we come to you offering the thanks that you deserve. While our minds are limited by our ability to understand your ways, our hearts are filled by the Holy Spirit and it is He Who illumines our understanding. May our hearts be full of praise each and every day. In Jesus’ name, Amen
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