Posted in Philippians, Psalms

The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

“He who sacrifices thank offerings honors Me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:23

Sometimes it’s a sacrifice to give thanks. Maybe it’s because things aren’t going well right now, or because God hasn’t done the big thing you’re asking Him to do. Yet the word of God encourages us to give thanks even when we’re not in the mood, and it still honors Him. My number one defense against discouragement is thanksgiving. When I find myself down I will recount God’s blessings starting with salvation, then family, health, job, and every blessing I can think of. It’s difficult to be both depressed and thankful at the same time.

Thanksgiving brings us quickly into God’s Presence. “I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart…” (Psalm 100:4) No wonder our sacrifice of thanksgiving prepares the way for God’s salvation. Think about human relationships. Isn’t it easy to give to a thankful person and hard to give to someone who takes you and your gifts for granted? I think it’s the same way for God. He encourages us to pray when we are anxious about anything and “with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6) Before we have even received what we are praying for, we are to give thanks. For what? How about for the last time God answered your prayer, or for who God is and that He even cares about our needs, or for the promises He has given that we can believe and pray back to Him as we ask.

The word says that after we turn our anxiety into prayer with thanksgiving, “the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7) I wonder if thanksgiving is the key to breaking through to peace. Prayer without thanksgiving can actually just be worrying in front of God. Thanksgiving brings in an element of faith and victory even if we haven’t seen the answer yet.


Pastor at City Church in Madison, Wisconsin