My Thankful Place

Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma…”- Genesis 8:20-21

Stay tuned for your weekly Daily Bread article, but first a Pastor’s Service Announcement: For the month of November my articles will focus on expressing a heart of thanksgiving, an attitude of gratitude, and lips filled with praise. Now back to this week’s word!

Quick quiz…what would one commonly find in someone’s OFFICE? A quick list that immediately comes to mind would be family pictures, books, a framed motivational saying, a college diploma, and a stress ball or object. Those are all popular (and probably right) answers as I have a handful in my work space. However, there is something that finds an endearing spot in my heart and a central spot on my desk. I love to keep “Thank You” CARDS from people. With all due respect to Christmas, Easter, and my birthday, I think these are my favorite type of cards to receive. They come at unexpected times from people who are fully expressing their hearts of appreciation for our friendship and doing faith together. Each card encourages my heart and reminds me of why I chose to answer God’s call to pastor. These cards end up on my desk for a prolonged period: Some are displayed, while others are stacked in a pile. In between assignments, decisions, meetings, writings, and crises I will regularly stop to read these cards and find myself instantly refreshed and inspired!

One of the most remarkable Bible stories of a people living out the praise principle of “thanksgiving” is Noah and the Flood. Now at first glance it may be hard to see anything about worship and gratitude during a time of judgment, the “mother of all storms”, and as God is starting over. Yet, worship and thanksgiving are the resounding first act and take center stage as Noah comes out of the ark. In Genesis 8 it says that Noah starts this new chapter by building an altar to worship the Lord. This may not seem extravagant to anyone else, but as I think about the scene I am able to see how precious and powerful Noah’s sacrifice was. First, as his family comes out of the ark, it is safe to assume that there was much work to get done: there was choosing the right spot/foundation to build a home, preparing the land for farming, and finding some food for dinner. Secondly, if anyone had the right to never want to see a hammer, saw, or wood again it was this preacher of righteousness. He had taken decades building this behemoth boat to withstand the perfect storm and house the largest zoo in human history. Can you imagine how many splinters, cuts, and callouses covered those hands? It would have been easy to handoff the task of worship to one of his sons or to take a little break from such labor for some much-needed R&R. Yet, we find Noah chopping, stacking, and giving away.

The lesson from Noah that we should move in HARMONY with is to make THANKSGIVING our FIRST RESPONSE. In Philippians 4:8 the Apostle Paul makes a praise plea to the church, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” I would like to suggest that Thanksgiving does not start at the table on the fourth Thursday in November, but with us by making gratitude a priority and expressing praise as the starting place to each new day, each new season, each new place, and each new challenge we experience. When you wake up each morning, take a moment to bless the Lord; when you arrive to a work meeting, take a moment to thank the Lord for wisdom and favor; when you have an unexpected bill or something breaks down, take a moment to thank the Lord for provision; when you are dealing with a difficult relationship, take a moment to rest in His peace; and when you are not seeing a prayer answered or an area of breakthrough (in the manner or time expected), take a moment to surrender and celebrate that God’s timing is always best.

Let’s live being a Spirit-minded, worship-centered follower who moves Thanksgiving from being a ONE DAY holiday to an ONLY WAY heart response. As the Thanksgiving Day dinner bell draws closer (and has us drooling), let’s draw near to the Lord as it says in Psalm 100:4, “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.

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