Epiphany 1, Monday, Year B

Inspired by Psalm 69:1-5, 30-36

“I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.” Psalm 69:30-31 (NRSV)

What do you give to the God who has everything? Everything that exists in the world, everything in creation, belongs to him. What can we give to him that isn’t already his?

Animal sacrifices were a common practice in ancient Israel. Instructions were given on what, when, and how sacrifices were to be made. Yet the psalmist understood that while such sacrifices could demonstrate genuine worship of God, it was the worship itself that pleased God, not the sacrifices. Singing God’s praises and magnifying him with thanksgiving were much more pleasing to him than the empty act of sacrificing an animal.

We no longer sacrifice animals to God. Calls for sacrificial giving involve giving of our time and possessions in order to proclaim the love of God through Jesus Christ, and to help ease the suffering experienced by so many of God’s beloved children. Such sacrifices, when given out of true worship, are still pleasing to the Lord. However it is still the worship itself that is most pleasing to him. If you have nothing material to offer, God still wants nothing more than for you to praise his name in song, and to magnify him with thanksgiving.

Let us pray. God of blessedness, you have given us all that we have, and need nothing yourself. Inspire in us worshipful hearts, that we may treat all in your creation as generously as you have treated us, and all may offer you praise and thanksgiving. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.