It is Good to Give Thanks!
At this season in our church life, GBC has a lot to give thanks for. Pastor Ian reminds us that it is not only good but also appropriate to express gratitude to the One who sustains us and provides us with everything we need. He suggests four ways we in turn can respond to such a generous God.
The psalmist opens Psalm 92 with, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord…”
In English, that word 'good' suggests that a thing has all the necessary qualities of a high standard. But in Hebrew the word translated 'good' doesn’t necessarily suggest a higher than normal standard, rather it simply suggests that which is appropriate. Literally, the psalmist is saying, “It is appropriate to give thanks to the Lord, it is appropriate to sing praises to your name O Lord Most High" (Psalm 92:1).
In other words, it is not an extraordinary thing to give thanks to the One who fills our lungs with oxygen; it is appropriate. It is not unusually good to respond to a generous, life-giving God with praise. It is appropriate. Living a life of daily gratitude does not make me a good man. It is simply evidence that I am paying attention.
So, now that God has brought us back home to 17 Mattar Road, how might we respond in an appropriate way? I suggest we each prayerfully consider four things we can do:
1. Let us call Him by name! The God we worship desires us to know Him and to call Him by name. The psalmist offered gratitude to a very specific Person: “to your name O Lord Most High!” Sometimes when we are thankful for someone, we tend to tell someone else about it. Though this is also good, gratitude is appropriate when it is specifically directed to the one for whom we are grateful. If God has blessed you through someone else, let me encourage you to first thank God for them, and then go directly to that person and tell them that they are one specific reason for your thanksgiving.
2. Let us return on Sunday with hearts prepared to sing His praise! Maybe, like my father, you feel you can’t properly 'carry a tune' so you’re a little embarrassed to sing in public. In response, the psalmist reminds us, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord!" (Psalm 100:1) The good news is that gratitude does not require skill, or talent, or beauty. It is simply an appropriate—and appropriately noisy—response to God’s active grace and mercy in our lives. The acoustics in our new building are made for our noisy thanksgiving. Let’s be prepared to reward them with our songs of praise!
3. Let us expect that gratitude can and should inform behaviour! In Colossians 3:17, the Apostle Paul reminds us that true gratitude is communicated not only with words, but by our actions as well: “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” I may be grateful to God for the work of our Rebuilding Team, but if I do not communicate it with my words and model it with my behaviour, the impact of my gratitude will be lost in the muddle of my unfulfilled intentions. As Christ’s body, let us act out thanksgiving in ways that bless and encourage!
4. Let us continue to give hilariously! Thank you, Colin Soh for bringing a new friend to our service last Sunday! This young man had never been inside a church building. And his first question? “How did all this happen? Where did the money come from?” We don’t give because bills need to be paid, or to support missions and ministry staff. Our giving is an appropriate response to God’s generosity toward us. We give because God loves it when grateful hearts give cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). And as we continue to give we demonstrate our willingness to trust a generous God with a small measure of that which He has so richly entrusted to us!
I so look forward to meeting you this coming Sunday, as we gather again to offer God an appropriate response to His glorious grace and mercy!