“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me” Psalm 50:23 (ESV)
In challenging times, we tend to forget God. Our focus is on the foreboding threat of disaster. We perceive trouble on the horizon and unknown disasters that are knocking on the door. Our prayer lists consist of needs and problems. If on paper, our prayers would look like our grocery list as we shop for those things we “need.”
Many speak of today as if God is not pleasing to them. They bemoan where our world is headed. They fear God is not the solution, so they act as if there is no God and develop their own solution. All the while assuming they are living the “God honoring life” when in reality their perspective is anything but an expression of faith.
When we entreat God’s attention to our “need,” we often quote scripture to the Lord as if He might need to remember promises He has made. The visual we might have of our prayer life looks like we are the one being served, and the Lord is the one saying, “May I help you, please?” With our focus on ourselves we fail to realize why we have come into God’s presence. Our reason for living is to bring glory to God, not ourselves.
True worship focuses on God not us. The word “worship,” means to give weight to something. It is to identify what is valuable. Worship is bowing down and paying homage. Worship lifts up the reason for our joy and the hope for our future. There is no need to fear the future because we acknowledge God is in control. God knows best. God is faithful. He is the Great Shepherd. He is our solution in every situation.
The visual of true worship is not a multitude begging for help. True worship is a multitude thanking God for all He has done and will do in our life. God is glorified when we are delighted to come into His presence. God is glorified when we acknowledge we have already received so many wonderful blessings, we can only say thank you. God is glorified when his children approach him in confidence, not in doubt and panic.
God is seeking from us “a sacrifice of thanksgiving.” More than any other thing, God is lifted up by those who focus solely on a faithful God instead of a frightful world.
Jesus healed 10 lepers. They were told to go and show themselves to the priest. When healed only one returned to express his thanksgiving to the Lord. The question of the Lord is, “Where are the others?”
If God is glorified in thanksgiving, do we need to change our tune. While the faithless cry about needs, the faithful should exclaim that God is the answer. If He is your answer, why not reflect your blessings you have received. That would be a new song in today’s view, but it is the song God is waiting to hear.
Dr. John Temple is chaplain of the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office. From the Shepherd’s Heart is published Fridays in The Meridian Star.