When Amanda went away for 2 days for a conference, I had the privilege of watching all 3 bambinos by myself. In addition to some planned fun, cutting down a couple of trees, I also tried to maintain the house as clean as my wife’s preferred standards. That involved making the children work for food. Gloria has gotten real messy in her eating so I was making her vacuum up her mess.
OK, that might be an exaggeration. She actually loves the vacuum, so I let her begin and then I came behind her and finished it.
Right before she cleaned, I had prepared a big breakfast for my babies, and I was running around the kitchen very quickly. Trying to get them clothed, fed, and clean before the lumberjacks arrived was quite the ordeal.
As I put some food down at the table, we prayed, and then I started back to my duties. As I walked away from Gloria’s high chair, I heard her softly say, “thank you, Daddy.”
I turned around and stopped. She has the sweetest voice in the world. She is about as kissable as they come. But this stop-in-my-track moment was more due to the freedom in her offering. There are times when I do something for my children and I command them to say, “thank you.” I remind them very often to say “thank you” when something is done in service to them.
But here was my nearing 2-year-old darling who unprovoked and unrehearsed offered up her gratitude.
While I expect gratitude from my children, it is something incredibly special when it is offered freely.
Sacrifice of Thanksgiving
God is the same way. He is a Father. And while he can get whatever he wants, we offer gratitude freely. It is a “sacrifice of praise” and the “fruit of lips that give thanks to his name” (Heb. 13:15).
In fact, in Psalm 50, the psalmist speaks concerning the animal sacrifices that would be offered to God, and he speaks on behalf of God when he says:
“If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine. Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High” (Ps. 50:12-14).
Did you catch that? God is not wanting us to offer him anything in way of repayment. We could never come close to that which would be adequate. We are to give a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Our offering is gratitude.
So, what do you need to thank God for specifically today? Don’t be general. Get specific.
Spend some time in prayer, and gently say, “Thank you, Daddy…” Because he is good, and he is worth all of our gratitude.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.