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A Sacrifice of Praise (Day 33)

Lenten Devotion – A Sacrifice of Praise
Day 33, 22 March 2024

“Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.” Hebrews 13:15

This passage of do’s and don’ts has become all too familiar. Yet, the call to “continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise” (vs 15) beckons.

Why would praising God count as a sacrifice when it is, by and large, pleasurable? I love our hymns. It is easy to praise God for His many blessings. Can what comes so effortlessly qualify as sacrifice?

Perhaps “continually” is the clue here. Not only when I feel like it, or when all is going well. In an 1898 sermon, Charles Spurgeon suggested that we praise God continually “as a life-long occupation”. Not twice, thrice, or even ten times a day. Continually. Not like a robot either, unthinkingly repeating “praise God, praise God” whenever someone shares good news. Rather, as a deep sentiment that may not even need words.

The other day, a myna came to my windowsill, cocked its head, and made direct eye contact. I was thrilled. It wanted to be friends, I thought. Having prepared my breakfast, I turned around to get coffee. Within seconds, it swooped in and gobbled up my scrambled eggs and toast. Did I thank God that the crass bird enjoyed its meal? Certainly not. I did though imagine God chuckling away at my predicament. As I grow older, I find that praising our Father at times like this includes appreciating that He is looking out for both the myna and me.

On a more serious note, when illness strikes, making “a life-long occupation of praising God” can be daunting. Recently, my health has been a roller coaster. I am blessed with flashbacks of Ascensionnaires whose faith remained unwavering even as they succumbed to frailty. Then there was Job, of course. Job did not thank God for the suffering that came his way. Rather, Job worshipped God despite it — continually offering praise.

God wants us to praise Him surely not because He needs it. At any one time, there are millions of believers worshipping God. He will not be deprived in any way if you or I do not. I believe God wants us to worship Him because he knows (far more than we can) how good it is for our well-being. Looking to God, offering Him our sacrifice of praise, is paramount to living life to the fullest.

Mary George🙏🏾