In Psalm 116, verse 12, the psalmist asks the question “What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me?” If I might dare to rephrase the question, I might put it this way: “How should I give thanks to God for what He has done for me?” As we approach our national Day of Thanksgiving, this is certainly an appropriate question to ask (although we really should be asking it every day).
This year has been unlike any that we can recall, filled with so many things that we personally are not thankful for. We are not thankful for Covid-19, we are not thankful for racial injustice, we are not thankful for political divisiveness, and we are not thankful for natural disasters. But we do ourselves a disservice to think that large-scale issues like this have impacted only us, for the reality is that there have been plagues, oppression, division, injustice and natural disasters throughout the history of mankind. And in the midst of problems like these, the psalmist still asks how we should give thanks to the Lord for his goodness to us.
The goodness that the Lord has done to me, by dying on the cross as due penalty for my sin so that I might be welcomed into God’s heavenly kingdom, far outweighs the sum total of all evil that the world could ever pile upon me. He prepared an eternal home for me that is so unfathomably spectacular that I should readily give thanks to Him and seek to repay Him with my devotion and obedience, no matter what circumstances I find myself in. It is right and good for me to ask, every day, “What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me?”
As we ask that question, we ultimately realize that the only thing that we can give to the Lord by way of offering thanks is ourselves. We must place ourselves on the altar as a sacrifice, so that we no longer seek our own will for our lives, but rather God’s will. He has no use for our money or treasure, for even our gold is of insufficient purity to be used as paving material in Heaven. All God wants is us. Yet when we give ourselves completely to God, we put ourselves in the hands of the master Potter, and He will mold us and make us into whatever vessel He desires, so that we will accomplish His purposes.
Give thanks to the Lord by giving yourself to Him. After all, He set the example by first giving himself for you. There is no better way to give thanks.
Peace and blessings – Pastor Aaron