With the Thanksgiving week approaching I’m thinking about how we say “Thank You” to God for all He’s done for us and for all He does for us every day. It has been the calling of God’s people throughout the ages to “give thanks” to Him for all things. The scriptures teach us that there are many ways to say thank you to God. One of those ways is by singing His praises. Psalm 147:7 says, “Sing out your thanks to Him; sing praises to our God.”

As it was for Israel in the Old Testament days it is for the Church in our age. We are to be the worshipping community that announces to the world our faith in our God. We sing “How Great Thou Art” with hearts full of gratitude. That’s what Paul instructed the Colossians to do whenever they came together. He writes to them in chapter 3, verse 16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Psalm 100 also calls for us to “come into His courts with thanksgiving… come before Him singing with Joy.” You see the deepest longing of man’s heart is for God. As the deer pants for water in the wilderness, man’s soul longs for connection and communion with God. The Bible calls it pleasure, joy, delight, but these words fall short of true communion with God. It’s the truly one and only all time unspeakable experiences. “In your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11).

Singing our praises to God is one legitimate way of saying “Thank You” to Him for all His many blessings. But please don’t miss the focus on the “heart.” John Piper writes, “Without the engagement of the heart, we do not really worship. The engagement of the heart in worship is the coming alive of the feelings and emotions and affections of the heart. Where feelings for God are dead, worship is dead. True worship must include inward feelings that reflect the worth of God’s glory. If this were not so, the word hypocrite would have no meaning. But there is such a thing as hypocrisy—going through outward motions (like singing, praying, giving, reciting) that signify affections of the heart that are not there.”

“These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.” Matthew 15:8