7th April 2016
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song (Psalm 95:2)
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name (Psalm 100:4)
I will sacrifice a thank offering to You and call on the name of the LORD (Psalm 116:17)
Worshipping God should always start with thankgiving. If God is who He says He is, then He is altogether higher, greater and stronger than anything in this world and altogether our Saviour and provider. Thanksgiving allows our immediate focus to be on Him, even when we are anxious and concerned about life's circumstances.The Bible asks us in everything start our prayers to God with thanksgiving (phillippians 4:6). Thanksgiving reminds our very soul of all that God is, and all that He has done.
What a great place to start your day? What a great way to face any situation - 'God you have done so much and I will remind myself of these things!' This is fundamentally right and appropriate but as ever, we also benefit from this as faith rises within us as we utter the words of 'thank you God!' By comaprison many social commentators bemoan how rude people can be in modern life. In particular they despair about how people neglect to be grateful – specifically that they fail to say thank you. Author Lynn Truss says that ‘saying thank you is way of positionng ourselves in humility. It brings with it recognition that we need help, that we can’t do life on our own, and it demonstrates a grateful heart.'
So what does thanksgiving look like? It could be keeping a ‘thankful list’ of things large and small, so you armed and ready with your thanks. It could be seeking out testimonies and stories of what God is doing, and indeed sharing you’re own journey of who you see God to be, an how he has provided for you and those around you. Maybe bring thankfulness into all aspects of life - the office, the car, the dinner table, your worship. Paul Manwaring one of the leaders at Bethel Church, California often says that starting meetings with good news and with thanks is culture shaping. He did this here in the UK as a prison Govener before moving to the USA, and the shift in perspective of the whole team was significant.
Wouldnt it be great if we were known as people who oozed with gratitiude and thankfullness?
Reflecting also on Psalm 100:4, which says that thanksgiving leads us into His presence, I am reminded that if we want to draw closer to God, we need to start with thanksgiving. Let's be ready with our lips and hearts to express thankfullness straight away when we come before God!
If our worship is strongly flavoured with thanksgiving and honour of His name, we will have a very healthy worship diet! There are of course many other aspects of sung worship, ways, means, and how we can worship but in this next season can I challenge you to be ready to give thanks, and to praise His name? Come ready on Sunday mornings to thank Him and start everyday by coming into His presence with thanks.
In our modern day culture of convenince, express service, and a ‘me’ focus, let us take the time to worship with thankfulness and a renewed focus on the Name that is above all others. Let’s not allow the ‘great I’ to take precedent over the ‘great I AM’