Part of the preparation for ‘Thanksgiving’ is to consider the blessings which God has bestowed upon us, and appear with an offering in accordance with those blessings. We cannot just show up and make a spur of the moment decision based on what we have in our pocket at the time, and think we have done our duty as Christians. We must consider what God has done for us and give an offering that is appropriate.
2nd Cor. 9:7 Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
… three men going up to God to Bethel, one carrying three goats, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine: 1st Sam. 10: 3.
Saul met a set of three people who were going to Bethel, which is the house of God. The important thing with these people was that none of them was going to appear before the Lord empty-handed. The passage above stressed how we must not appear before God empty-handed.
What will you bring to the place of worship in thanksgiving?
· First, we must come with a prepared and ready heart.
o Our hearts must not be empty—filled with thanksgiving and praises; ready to pray and say amen to the prayers offered; and expectant to receive.
· Two, we must have a cheerful disposition and be joyful.
o We should be able to sing from our heart to the Lord. When we bring an offering of a full heart to God we take with us a heart full of blessing far exceeding what we brought.
· Three, we must appear with an offering.
o Our hands must not be empty—It is a privilege to come before God with an offering. God gave specific instructions, that we should not come before Him empty-handed. Deut. 12: 1-18; 16: 16. And when presenting the sacrifices, it had to be the best. Ex 23: 19; Deut. 15: 21.
Our attitude is therefore very important and is a determining factor in, if our offerings will be acceptable to God.
It is tragic that today’s Christianity has turned away from the example of our Lord who “came not to be served but to serve…” (Matt. 20: 28). We should come to church with the attitude that we are there to give not get. We should enter the door looking for opportunities to meet needs.
There is nobody that has nothing to give. If nothing else, we can offer praise. And praise changes circumstances. After praising the Lord, we see things differently. Praise changes our perspective and we start to see things from God’s point of view.
As we prepare to appear before the Lord in our ‘Harvest Thanksgiving’ are you preparing your best for the Lord?
Prayer: I have learnt today never to come before You empty. Let my heart be filled with joy and gladness and my hands with great offerings as I appear before You. Amen.
Your Vicar and friend