My brother-in-law still teases me about the time I invited him to play a “quick game of chess”. Right. Like such a thing exists, unless of course I’m your opponent. More recently, I had the opportunity to learn a little more about this masterful diversion from my niece’s husband. Naturally, I still didn’t win, which in my case was not really the point. And, let’s be real, the man’s an engineer and actually understands the game.
One of the few things I do understand about chess is that sometimes you have to sacrifice certain pieces to gain access to others as part of an overall strategy to conquer the opposition. (I like that word “conquer” since we’re dealing with kings, queens, knights, and the like, things we Americans are not overly acquainted with except in our video games and whatever else Hollywood feeds us.)
But the concept of sacrificing for a greater good is not altogether foreign, especially to my parents’ generation. Of course, defining that “greater good” gets a little tricky, so that job is best left up to the One who makes the most efficient decisions in the first place.
And here’s one of them:
“Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God…”
In practical terms, this means I can sacrifice my complaining about a circumstance for telling God “thank You” in advance concerning what He is doing about it, or what He is doing in/to/through me in the midst of it. Or telling someone else “thank you” for a kindness done as an expression of God’s love to me through others (even if they didn’t know that’s why they were doing it!)
And there are more ways than words to offer such a sacrifice of appreciation. How about one television show a week for a little more “nose-in-the-Book” time as an expression of gratitude for such a prize as a Bible in my own hands, in my own language, and the ability to read it without fear of reprisal. (Oh!, the things I take for granted!) Or taking your own coffee to work instead of buying it, while donating the proceeds to a charity.
The creative ways of showing that “attitude of gratitude” are myriad. But in the Christian worldview, they are, at least what I’m seeing in this passage, essential. There’s probably even some healthy, feel-good brain chemical that’s released in us when we do this…
…even better than winning a chess game. (Not that I would know, of course.)
Psalm 50:14 Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt Book 2) (Kindle Location 29129). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.