Gratitude and Worship

By Jay Risner, Lead Pastor
Jay Risner, Lead Pastor

Jay Risner, Lead Pastor

We are 4 days away from November so this blog post may be jumping the gun on Thanksgiving, but then again Target has been selling Christmas stuff for a month so I think I’m good.

Did you ever notice that we use the same word after ordering fries and a coke that we use after being blessed with an act of sacrificial kindness from a neighbor or friend? In both scenarios we say, “Thanks.”

Often “Thanks” seems to be a painfully inadequate word.

If someone opens a door for you or if someone gives you a kidney, all you can really offer is “Thanks.” We try and bolster our gratitude by adding “very much” or by sending a card, but either way…it’s still just “Thanks.”

Each November “Thanks” is given exalted status. We gather at our dining room tables for the expressed purpose of saying “Thanks” for the blessings and joys of another year. Thanksgiving is pretty meaningful as holidays go, but again, “Thanks” is still just a word.

Obviously the last Thursday in November presents serious problems for those who don’t believe in God. To whom or what are they offering their thanks? Additionally, the holiday presents terrific problems to those who say they believe in God, but simply fail to acknowledge Him save one gluttonous afternoon each Fall. “Uhhhh…thanks?”

Here’s the point: Though it’s an inadequate word, consistently saying “Thanks” for blessings both large and small—“Thanks” for the ice cream and “Thanks” for the ride and “Thanks” for the prayers—has a remarkable cumulative effect. “Thanks” becomes more than a socially conditioned response. When sincerely practiced, expressing “Thanks” creates a heart of genuine gratitude. It moves from being a mere expression on your lips to a disposition in your heart. Which then makes Thanksgiving more than just a meal, or more than a time to make up for a year of forgotten “thank yous”. For the consistently grateful Christian (Is there any other kind?) Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate what you celebrate each day—a life from God that’s better than any of us deserve. And when you sincerely do that each day, Thanksgiving moves from a day of mandated “Thanks” to a day that celebrates what you’ve being doing all year.

There’s actually a parallel here for worship. If you worship Jesus Christ with your whole life…your everyday life, your devotional life, your home life, your eating, drinking, working life. If you worship in life, then your weekly corporate worship takes on a whole new posture. Sunday is not a day of worship mandated by the church. It’s a day where we gather with our church family and celebrate what we’ve been doing all week, which is worship. We no longer gather like the ungrateful person at the Thanksgiving table forcing out worship like they are forcing out gratitude. We anticipate a day and time to enjoy with others what we’ve given our hearts to each day.

Faith Bible, I’m grateful for you. It’s a joy to worship together.