"Gratitude of Repentance"
September 16, 2014
For You will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; You will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. Psalm 51:16-17
The two Amish girls, seven and 12 years old, were watching the family's roadside farm stand in Oswegatchie, New York. When a couple pulled up and invited them to see their puppy, the girls jumped at the opportunity.
They went to look at the puppy, and then they disappeared. They disappeared for an entire day.
Eventually, the girls showed up at the home of Jeffrey and Pamela Stinson, a couple who live about 15 miles from the spot from which the girls had been kidnapped. The cold, wet, hungry girls ate a small watermelon and then asked to be taken home.
The Stinsons debated about getting the police involved, but then thought it best to honor the girls' request. Thinking back, Jeffrey Stinson explained: "We never gave it any thought about implications or dangers. We knew those girls had to get home." And home those girls went: home to joy, tears and welcoming arms.
And that, my friends, usually would be the end of the story.
It isn't. You see, the grateful Amish family heard the Stinson's garage had burned down while they were on vacation. Wishing to show their gratitude in a tangible form, the family promised to give the Stinsons a "garage raising." For those of you who don't know, a garage raising is like a barn raising, but smaller.
And so it was, the two girls who had been kidnapped, their 11 brothers and sisters, their parents, grandparents, and relatives all came together and a garage went up at the Stinson home. A garage is there, a visible token of appreciation for an act of kindness.
Now it occurs to me that we who have been forgiven of our sins, rescued from hell, and been brought into the Lord's family of faith, also ought to be showing our gratitude.
But what can we do for the Lord?
We can't build Him a barn, a garage, a home. Since He is the Creator and Preserver of all, the One who brought stuff into existence with a word, we would find it difficult, no, impossible to give Him something He doesn't already own. As the Lord says in Psalm 50:10, He already owns all the beasts, all the cattle, all the fields, and all the forests.
So what can we do for the Lord?
He tells us in our text above.
The Lord wants repentant hearts. He wants us to be sorry for our sins and rejoice in the forgiveness that comes only through faith in the crucified and risen Redeemer.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, may I be given a repentant heart and a thankful spirit for what You have done to save me in the sacrifice of Jesus, my Savior. In His Name I pray. Amen.
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Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries