How to Turn Thanksgiving into Thanksliving

by Adrian Rogers

O that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of menAnd let them sacrifice the sacrifices of Thanksgiving and declare His works with rejoicing." (Psalm 107:8 & 22)

It has been said that talk is cheap. We thank the Lord and we say "Lord, we're so thankful, we're so grateful for all that you've done for us." Well, do you know what we need to do? We need to turn Thanksgiving into Thanks-living. That is, to offer to God the sacrifices of thanksgiving.

Now, if we're thankful it really ought to show in our lives, and I don't believe that there's any other sin quite like the sin of ingratitude. Shakespeare said, "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child." Those of you who have loved and labored and invested much in the health and lives of your children know how grieved you are when your children do not seem to appreciate or to be thankful for the sacrifices that parents have made. Mothers have gone down in the valley of the shadow of death to bring these precious children into this world and dads have labored long and hard-what a sacrifice.

I think Shakespeare was right. Milton, the blind poet, said that a person with an ungrateful spirit only has one vice because all of the rest of his vices are virtues compared to ingratitude. Every other sin is a virtue compared to the sin of ingratitude.

How terrible not to be grateful to God, and yet in America all around we can find those who are "grumbly hateful" rather than humbly grateful. How can we translate our Thanksgiving today into Thanks-living? We're to offer to God what the Bible calls the "sacrifices of thanksgiving."

1 Peter 2 tells that those of us who are saved are priests. Have you ever seen a Baptist priest before? I'm a Baptist priest, and you're a priest. Now, I don't walk into my collar, I back into my collar, but I'm still a Baptist priest, and you are a priest. All of those of us who are saved are priests of God, and every priest ought to be able to offer sacrifices to the Lord. Peter tells us that because we're priests, we're to offer up spiritual sacrifices.

You can say, "Oh we're thankful" and then eat a big meal and watch football. It ought to go a little farther than that. You ought to have more in your Thanksgiving than stuffing yourself and then becoming a couch potato. You need to do something else besides that in order to show how thankful to God you are.

Romans 12 talks about the sacrifice of your very person, of yourself: "I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice wholly, acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service, and be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

In verse one he talks about a living sacrifice-the very first sacrifice that we're going to offer is what we call a living sacrifice, which is your body. Why should you do that? Notice that the apostle Paul says, "I beseech you therefore brethren." It's almost as if he's on his knees in front of you. But who was speaking when Paul spoke here? God was speaking. We often talk about our prayer to God; this is God's prayer to man-He is saying "I beseech you, I plead with you."

If the Lord Jesus were to come and get in front of you and fold His hands and look up in your face and say I beg you do this, would you do it?

Here's the reason for it: "by the mercies of God," on the basis of what God has done for you. Why should I give my body to Him? Because He gave His body for me. He suffered, bled and died upon that cross and when we drove those nails into His hands his quivering heart was saying "I love you, I love you." Those nails were my sins and my hard heart was the hammer that drove those nails into the palms of Jesus, and yet He suffered and bled and died for our sins.

All of Romans leading up to this passage tells us about the mercies of God, and then Paul says, "I beseech you therefore brethren because of the mercies of God, because of God's goodness that you present your bodies to him." You see, drops of grief can never repay the debt of love I owe. You can only say "Lord, I give myself away, tis all that I can do."

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