Remember to Thank God

The Book of Psalms is Israel’s hymnbook. Historically, the psalms are so closely linked to King David that many believe some of them were written by him. They provide prayers for every aspect of the life of the Israelites, and today they reveal a spiritual wisdom that can draw the Christian steward into a deeper intimacy with God, especially through the fundamental notion of gratitude. Psalm 50 provides an insightful look at gratitude. The psalmist felt so strongly about the call to thankfulness to the Lord that he even chose to speak with the Lord’s voice, assuring the people that God did not need their burnt offerings: “I shall take no young bull out of your house nor male goats out of your folds. For every beast of the forest is Mine. The cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine.” No, God tells the people, everything is already God’s, so your cattle and birds and young bulls need not be offered to their Creator. So what does God want from us? The psalmist urges us to “offer to God a sacrifice of Thanksgiving.” Keeping in mind that all we have is from God, and remains God’s, Christian stewards awake each morning to say with humility, “Thank you.” The ancient psalmist’s words make sense to a modern Christian, because the God who gave us free will does not possess our thankfulness until we freely give it. And we’re asked for more than a perfunctory show of gratitude. The God who already possesses cattle on a thousand hills and every bird of the mountain is calling us to a deep sense of conversion, a sense that we stand before the God who has gifted us with everything we possess.