I am in awe of the young woman before me. Over the last several years I’ve had the privilege of mentoring her and loving her like a daughter. And just recently she’s discovered a passion for Jesus that knows no bounds. She’s experienced His grace and healing in profound ways; and therefore, has every reason to give thanks.
“Cheyenne, how do I show God I’m thankful for what He’s done for me? I mean, it’s not like I can do anything for Him that He can’t do for Himself. He doesn’t need anything from me. He doesn’t even need me–yet He wants me and loves me.” As a crease forms between her brows, she notices a smile playing on the corners of my lips. “Seriously!” she blurts out in exasperation, “How can I say thank you–how can I show it?”
Have you ever shared her overwhelming desire to pour out your thanks to God?
I have. And like this precious young woman, I was unsure how to show my gratitude to a God who is self-sustaining and self-sufficient–a God who needs nothing from me.
Then I discovered the vibrant relevance of Psalm 100.
Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
Psalms 100:1-5 NLT
Psalm 100 is The Psalm of Thanksgiving, and it beckons us to worship our Great God with our Brothers and Sisters. It summons us. It invites us in. It calls to you, individually; and to us, corporately, to gather and unite our voices in thanksgiving. Many of the other Psalms have elements of thanksgiving, but this is the only Psalm explicitly dedicated to giving thanks to God. How awesome is that?
But don’t let its length fool you! The author packed this Psalm with:
- Two relevant reasons WHY we should thank God.
- Seven excellent instructions on HOW to give thanks to Him (what it looks like)
Beloved, the WHY is vital because without it, the HOW is meaningless. Empty. Void.
Without the WHY we’re just going through the motions of religion and not engaging in a relationship with our Risen Savior. Without the WHY, the HOW is a masquerade of humility, covering up our self-righteousness, idolatry, greed, and pride.
So today let’s celebrate our Good Good Father with thanksgiving because He’s our Creator. And next time we’ll rejoice in Him because he is our Redeemer.
GOD IS OUR CREATOR!
“He made us…”
Genesis 1:26-31 captivates us in its narrative of our creation. Here we discover everything else God created was for our benefit and joy. We discern God designed us for a purpose. And we realize we were crafted in His likeness and bear His image.
As His image bearers, there’s an inescapable connection between God and us; a link between our purpose here on earth and His design.
Psalm 139 echoes these truths and gives us a beautiful word picture to help us understand them:
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous–how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.’
As a knitter, I love this word picture!
Over the years I’ve made several different knitted projects. Some big, some small but at the heart, they were all the same:
- They each required a lot of time and attention to complete
- They each took dedication and focus to see them to completion
- They each were made for a reason, with a specific purpose in mind
- I held them all in my hands from the moment I cast on my first stitch until I bound-off my last one.
And as I tenderly yet securely held each project in my hands, I realized a piece of me went into each project I created. First, as I knit, I pray for the recipient of my knitting, pouring my love and affection into the project. Second, my DNA comes off on the yarn as it flows through my fingers over the course of the project.
Beloved, it’s the same with God and His image in you! Like my knitting projects, He created you for a purpose, with a specific reason in mind. So He already knew you even before He started knitting you together. And once He started knitting, you can be sure He held you tenderly yet securely in His hands, that He blessed you and watched over you as He pours His image into you.
And since you bear His image, it stands to reason, the only way we can know who we are is to know who God is. And the only way to discern what our purpose is on this planet is to follow where He leads us.
Beloved, we discover who God is when we engage in Bible study, learn under solid Bible-based teaching, and pray for wisdom and understanding–for Him to open our mind and teach us about Himself. As we learn more and more about Him, we also discover what His purpose is for us in this time and place.
“…and we are His.”
Once we accept God as our Creator, we must accept the fact that we are His.
What do I mean by this?
Think of your favorite pair of jeans. When the manufacturer created your pants, they put their mark (brand) on them. This mark proves those pants are one of their creations, and this brand is what attributes to your jeans’ value (their cost and trendiness). Now, you know as well as I do, you can buy jeans just about anywhere, and when you remove their distinguishing characteristics (marks/brands), they’re all pretty similar. But it’s the band your jeans carry that sets them apart. It’s what gives them value and meaning.
Beloved, bearing the image of God is what gives you value. It’s was what gives your life meaning and worth. But unlike your jeans, your value doesn’t diminish. In fact, there’s no way to quantify your value with our worldly scales. But as far as Heaven is concerned, your value is so extraordinary that Jesus was willing to pay the ultimate price for you–He died the most gruesome death known to man because He loves you and wants to spend eternity with you.
The alternative to all this is believing we created ourselves or that we’re a random collection of atoms. In either case, there’s no need for God. And in both cases, there’s a constant quest for meaning, personal value, and self-worth–a deep seeded need to prove we weren’t an accident, that we have a purpose, that we matter. But amidst the self-absorption, the pursuit of status and success, the consuming greed, and the ever-present pride–there is nothing to be found because there’s no constant, there’s nothing more significant than ourselves to give us the meaning we seek. And when we think we’ve achieved what we’ve been looking for, we discover it’s a mirage. So we plod on, discouraged; hoping to find the meaning and hope we crave.
But our Creator offers us that hope. Like our jeans, it’s His image in us that gives us our value. But first, we must acknowledge Him as our Creator to be able to appreciate our infinite worth. Baby, YOU WERE DESIGNED FOR A PURPOSE! And only God, your Creator, can give you that meaning you desire.