SACRIFICE OF PRAISE
Heb. 13:15-16 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
I love Thanksgiving Day. I love the meal, the family gathering, the smells of turkey and pie, I even love the football. But there is something else I love even more about Thanksgiving. What is it that I love, I love to just give thanks to the Lord. It just feels right. When someone does something special for you there needs to be an acknowledgement, we have to say thank you, it’s the right thing to do. After all the Lord has done for us, we have to stop and just say thank you Lord. It just feels right.
I love my Thanksgiving memories. The one that stands out amongst all of them was the Thanksgiving feast I had in 1973, just after I had come to the Lord. Parris and I were living in Kerman, California attending Bible School. We were obviously far away from home with no chance to return for the holidays. We were invited to Thanksgiving dinner at an elderly couple’s house. They were a Pentecostal family, you know the old school holiness Pentecostals. The sweet lady wore her hair in a bun, they were really old school. Parris and I felt a little awkward going to these stranger’s house for a meal, but our fears were quickly put away. This couple opened their home and opened their hearts to us. It wasn’t long until we were caught up in old stories and some really great food, this was a real Thanksgiving feast. During the dinner and conversation I began to notice something about the old man. There was a deep joy shining out through his face. His eyes were lit up and his face had a huge smile stuck on it. It seemed every other statement was “thank you Jesus”. He said “Thank you Jesus” over and over again that day, he was unconsciously teaching me about the real meaning of Thanksgiving. Now don’t get me wrong, there was nothing forced or overly religious about his thankfulness. It came across as real. He was thankful and deeply effected by God’s love and he wanted to give thanks. When I left their house that day I was profoundly effected. Parris and I talked about that precious couple and their deep love for the Lord. We had experienced the real Thanksgiving for the first time. We would never be able to forget that day, Thanksgiving could never be the same for us, we had been impacted by another family and their love for the Lord.
The atmosphere in that house that day was similar to all of the other Thanksgivings I had experienced. There was the turkey and dressing, the cranberry sauce and the green beans. Of course there were all of the pies and various other deserts. The only difference was the atmosphere was permeated with the love of God, real giving of thanks filled the house. Thanksgiving, I learned that day, was more that fragrant food smells, there was another smell that filled the house. It was the smell of Thanksgiving coming from the hearts of those precious Pentecostals. I bet they are enjoying this Thanksgiving more than all of the rest, they are now at the real heavenly feast, before His throne, giving thanks to the Lord.