God's Love Matters | Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

God's Love Matters

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Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

In the United States, Thanksgiving is the unofficial start of the "holiday season" and is observed on the fourth Thursday of November. However, the first Thanksgiving was December 13, 1621. It was a time of celebration and praise as God helped them endure a full year in the new world. (Click here to read our Thanksgiving post.) Given the time of year, as I was going through Psalm 50 recently, I reflected on the pilgrims and how this passage relates to us in the centuries following Jesus' sacrifice.

"Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!" (Psalm 50: 5) Like many others who traveled to the new world, they made a considerable sacrifice. Many did not survive the first year and those that did worked extremely hard just to live day-to-day. They recognized what God did for them and joined the Indians in a time of feasting and praise to give thanksgiving to God.

What God has shown to us time and time again is that He loves us. Personally, I struggled to understand the purpose of sacrifices as described in the Old Testament for some time. However, I believe that Psalm 50 helps to shed some light on these sacrifices and how different they are to the sacrifices we make today. You do not see Christians burning the fatted calf or sheep. But how did that change and why did Jews in the Old Testament believe that was required? It appears the answer may lie in verses 9-13 of this Psalm. Here God lets us know that everything in the world is His. He does NOT need us to sacrifice any living creature for him to eat. In ancient times, people made these sacrifices because these animals were often the most valuable possession they owned. The concept of sacrificing them was not because God needed them, but because by burning them, they were able to show God how important He was in their lives and how much trust they put in Him.

"Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me." (Psalm 50: 14-15). In these verses, it does not say to sacrifice an animal, but instead to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Over the last few centuries, the objects of value we have are time and currency/money. The pilgrims gave up all of their earthly possessions to start over in the new world and trusted in God to help them survive in a new land. When they did, they shared their thanksgiving with God by teaching the Indians about Him and sharing their food with them.

We can make sacrifices by sharing God's Love with others and "paying it forward." Jesus died on the cross for us, and that is the most significant sacrifice anyone could make. We can show our appreciation for God's Grace and Love for us by sharing it with others. Today, we can make our sacrifices to God by finding ways to GIVE our time and money to help spread God's Love. Share your time to help those in your local community or by going on a mission trip to help share the Word of God with people who do not yet know God. If time is not something you can sacrifice, then you can give generously to your local church and Christian organizations to support those in need or can spread the Word of God.

God tells us in Psalm 50: 9, "If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine." In other words, our earthly possessions are meaningless to God. What is meaningful to God is our willingness to give generously of our time and possessions to reach those who do not yet know God. With this in mind, go forth and share the message of God's Grace in all the ways you can.

Chris Vaughan

Over the last decade, I have come to realize the power of God's Love and created OneGod.info as a way to help share God's Love with others. I believe that many of you reading this are just like me ... Christian but passive. There is only one thing that is guaranteed in this life and that is God's Grace and willingness to sacrifice His Son so that we could join Him in Heaven. It does not matter what nationality, gender, or political party to which someone belongs. Our citizenship is in Heaven and our passport to return is simply to Love God, Praise Jesus, and Spread His Word!