Here in the USA, we’re going to be celebrating our Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow. Many people are spending today in preparation for it. I want to take this post to give some inspiration as we look forward to it.
Leviticus 7:11-15 talks about the Jewish Law concerning the sacrifice of thanksgiving. It was one of the voluntary fellowship offerings that they could bring to the Temple. You may want to read that passage before continuing with this post.
It turns out that the Thanksgiving offering was a meal shared with the priests. They brought their sacrifice; it was cooked, and then eaten at the Temple.
So in a way, their Thanksgiving was just like ours. Did you know that a meal can be worship?
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31
Eating together is a sign of fellowship. When the Lord is involved, it’s a part of our worship.
This is something that we need to get back to in our present day. I encourage you to make this a part of your celebration. Make a point to mention this at your dinner table, “This meal is an act of worship.”
Why is that so important? Eating involves fellowship. In the Old Testament reference from Leviticus, the root of “fellowship” is the Hebrew word, Shalom. It’s what we normally translate as peace.
However, it’s much more than that. Shalom speaks of fullness of life, wholeness, prosperity, safety, and peace with God. What we need to realize is that Thanksgiving is the celebration of God’s gift to us of shalom.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
That’s why Jesus came – so that we could enter into a covenant with Him. The result is Shalom – fullness of life. The Thanksgiving meal should celebrate what God has done for you.
Another aspect of the Thanksgiving Offering in the Old Testament was that this offering was not to provide union with God. It was not used as a guilt offering.
This one simply acknowledged God’s presence. We need to remember that Thanksgiving is joyfully sharing in God’s presence.
For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
It should celebrate the gift of joy and fellowship because we’re in the family of God. The Thanksgiving holiday should be all the more joyful because God is with us.
It’s interesting to note that this sacrifice was always listed last in the Scripture. Rabbis referred to it as the “concluding sacrifice.” It’s usually the same with us. We look back and say God has been faithful.
However, that’s not all there is.
“He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.”
Thanksgiving is not only the final part of a blessing. It’s also the first part of the next blessing. Make your Thanksgiving meal an act of worship this year. Not by religious show, but with the attitude of worship. This is a meal celebrating shalom…in God’s presence…finalizing God’s blessing…and preparing for the next.
© 2020 Nick Zaccardi