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How to say “thank you”

What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me? I will lift up a cup symbolizing his salvation; I will praise the Lord’s name for saving me. I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all his people. — Psalm 116:12-14

There are times when life is so rich that even surly men smile and the most ungrateful are thankful. Feelings of well-being that well up in the soul demand to be expressed. Such times are difficult times for the atheist, because he has no one to thank. For the believer there is no such problem—he knows whom to thank. But he often wonders what he can do to express his gratitude adequately.

The psalm writer asked the question, “What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me?” (Psalm 116:12). In other words, “What can you give a God who has everything?”

Fortunately, the psalm writer was able to answer his own question. First of all, he “will lift up a cup symbolizing [God’s] salvation” (116:13). This refers to the psalmist’s commitment to participate in regular formal worship where actions such as lifting high a cup of wine symbolically demonstrated in visual and dramatic ways the deep experiences of the heart. He will say “thank you” by making regular worship in the community of believers a priority. A modern man does a similar thing when he passes up Sunday morning golf in order to attend Sunday morning worship at church with his family, and when he takes Communion there as an outward expression of the inward knowledge that his sins have been forgiven through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus on the cross.

Second, the psalm writer adds, “I will praise the Lord’s name for saving me” (116:13). He has already stated, “I love the Lord because he hears and answers my prayers” (116:1). Love demands opportunities for expression, and formal praise affords such opportunities. While the psalmist has no difficulty articulating his own love, many men are not so gifted. So they should know how important it is for them to be in attendance when the people of God lift their voices in praise as they sing anthems and songs that express their joy.

Third, the psalmist states, “I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all his people” (116:14). He knows that men make great promises at times of extreme danger or delight but tend to forget them when the grand moment passes away. But not the psalmist—he will keep his promises, and he will do it in such a way that people know he is a man of integrity and devotion.

You can play golf on your own—but it is better played with friends. You can worship on your own—but it is better shared with God’s people. It is how you say “thank you” to the God who saved you.

For further study: Psalm 116:1-19

Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.