S188P9 – Acts of worship: thanksgiving

Eph. 5:17-21

Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.

He was the quintessential self-made man.  He held himself out as such, and everyone knew him as the guy who came from nothing to ascend to the apex of his industry.  His beginnings were humble, and his support from family and friends was nonexistent.  In fact, it was as if he did not even exist until he made a name for himself in business.  He prided himself on being an island and credited hard work and determination for his successes.  It was understandable why he held this belief, but he was wrong.  There were other hands besides his at work in his life, but he lacked what was necessary to realize that he would have made it nowhere if truly left on his own.

The themes of humility and submission pervade every kind of worship we practice.  This is especially so when we practice our worship by thanking God for what we have received in our lives.  I do not believe in the self-made man or woman because no one does it all alone.  It takes a big person to admit that and to express thanks for the help he or she has received along the way.  Giving thanks to God is an act of worship because we take the position of recognizing his favor and his blessings, and we admit that we need him.  Beyond that, when we consider how unworthy we are of his hand moving in our lives, that also speaks to his glory and holiness.  This is a confession of how incredible it is that He is mindful of us and works for our good.

This command for us to give thanks always to God for all things goes beyond that which looks good to us.  We also must endure trials and sufferings for the development of our faith and to grow in our relationship with him.  It could be only an act of worship for us to thank God for the painful and difficult times through which we are called to find joy and peace.  Thanking God for the pleasant parts of life is one thing, but thanking him for the trials takes another level of wisdom and faith.  To worship him in spirit and in truth is to thank him in all of this.  Father, give us thankful hearts that have the wisdom to worship You for all You have done in our lives.