Monday, October 23, 2017

The Sacrifice of Thanksgiving

Monday, November 24, 2008, 12:00
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by Dr. Chuck Baynard

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1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

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The lady sat across from my desk and began the conversation with, “I want you to fix my husband.” What is wrong with your husband? “Well he is a drunk and I cannot make him quit drinking, you need to fix him.” Words fail me when I try to describe the facial expression of this lady at my next question, “Have you thanked God for this drunken husband lately?”

The Old Testament much more consistently than the New Testament referred to the “sacrifice of thanksgiving.” In other words, to thank God even when what we are experiencing may not be what we would consider good much less the best of situations or solutions. The Bible is very clear, “In everything give thanks…”

God is sovereign and God is very much present with His people in their trials and sufferings. God uses the circumstances of life to both test His people and to purify them as He builds character in them. Saint Francis once wrote, “You will never know the depth or breadth of your faith until you hit the pot holes in the road of life.”

The lady above asked me, “Why would I thank God for a drunken husband?” I answered her with more questions. Does he have a job? Does he pay the bills and take care of the family? At each question she shook her head in the affirmative without saying a word and I continued the barrage of questions. Is he good to you and the children? Does he have any other bad habits that would destroy the family? More affirmative head shakes…

Then I hit her with the real questions – Are you a Christian? Is he a Christian? She said she was sure about herself and while he said he was, with his drinking she wasn’t so sure about that though he did go to church every Sunday. I asked her then, if she had ever prayed with her husband and asked God to help him control his drinking. Well no not exactly. But she had told him it was sin and God was going to get him for it.

I attempted to share with this lady that perhaps what needed fixing wasn’t so much her husband as her attitude of thanksgiving to God in and for all things in her life, they had a purpose. I ended that discussion with; God inhabits the praise of His people, try thanking God and instead of condemning your husband try praying with him without the condemnation.

I was not sure the lady understood me at all. However several weeks later she came in and asked if I would see them as a couple, that he was trying to quit drinking altogether and they wanted to try and make their marriage stronger.

It is that time of year , let us not simply thank God for all His many blessings this year but honestly try offering Him the sacrifice of thanksgiving for His presence and care in our lives. God indeed inhabits the praise of His people.

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Dr. Baynard is an Associate Editor of the Christian Observer and Senior Pastor at Clover Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Clover, South Carolina

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