Thanks Be to God, but How?
by Mike McKinniss
I’m recently married, so you’ll have to excuse me while all I ever talk about is my wife. It wasn’t long after our engagement, which was its own remarkable story, that she exclaimed to me (she’s always exclaiming things to me), “I’m just so grateful!”
This she followed up with a question: “How do I show my gratitude to God?”
My wife was expressing something I too was feeling, and would continue to feel straight through the wedding and on to now. The Lord had been so good to us both in ways we could hardly have fathomed just a couple years ago. Simply saying, “Thanks,” hardly seemed enough.
How do you rightly express thanks to the Lord?
At first, my mind wandered toward placing a little extra in the offering plate, but that hardly seemed like saying, “Thank you.” It would have felt more like repayment, which is perhaps the greatest insult one could offer in response to a gift.
There had to be a better way to give thanks.
We turned to Scripture, and thankfully (get it?), we found a little thing called the thank offering. Leviticus 7 had us covered:
Now this is the law of the fellowship sacrifice that someone may present to the Lord: If he presents it for thanksgiving, in addition to the thanksgiving sacrifice, he is to present unleavened cakes mixed with olive oil, and well-kneaded cakes of fine flour mixed with oil. He is to present as his offering cakes of leavened bread, with his thanksgiving sacrifice of fellowship. From the cakes he must present one portion of each offering as a contribution to the Lord. It will belong to the priest who sprinkles the blood of the fellowship offering; it is his. The meat of his thanksgiving sacrifice of fellowship must be eaten on the day he offers it; he may not leave any of it until morning (Lev. 7:11-15, HCSB).
Essentially, for Israelites who had reason to give thanks to the Lord, a dinner party with the priest was prescribed.
Some sacrifice! You mean, we didn’t have to fast for days on end, sit atop a telephone pole, or pledge our firstborn to demonstrate our genuine, heartfelt thanks for the place God had graciously put us?
No, as far as the Lord is concerned, the best way to demonstrate gratitude is to have a little party, with plenty of meat and carbs.
Now, it is a regular quip of antinomians of all stripes that no less a God-man than Jesus performed his first miracle at a week-long wedding celebration, producing wine worthy of any sommelier’s tastevin, long after the guests were in a stumbling stupor (John 2:1-12). It’s hard to be antinomian, however, when the law itself supports a good celebration.
Regardless, my wife and I, newly engaged and completely blissed out, had the answer to our question.
How do you demonstrate your gratitude toward the Lord, from whom every good and perfect gift flows? You share a meal, you make a toast, you throw a party and let others in on your great fortune, all the while celebrating the God who loves you and never ceases to be good.