I CAN Offer the Sacrifice of Praise
By Elisha Jane Wells
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name." Hebrews 13:15
"I can't." "I'm tired." "My feet hurt." "My arms are tired." "Can I sit down?"
It never failed that the same kids who always have boundless energy before and after service were the very ones whining these phrases during service. At first I let it get to me. In my flesh I wanted to retort, "Well, if you're too tired to praise, you're too tired for that game you asked to play." For the most part I held my tongue, though I didn't really have a better answer to give. I started asking God to give me a response to those complaints and to help me to draw out that same energy for praise time that they had for play time.
Before long I found myself responding differently.
When the kids would say "I can't," I would ask "Really? What does the Bible say about that?" It didn't take long for the kids to catch on that I was referring to Philippians 4:13, " I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Now when someone in Kidz Klub says "I can't" you'll likely hear another voice or two pipe up and say "Yes, you can." or "We're not supposed to say I can't."
When someone would say "I'm tired." or this hurts or that hurts, I 'd ask if God was too tired to climb Calvary carrying a cross for them? If his hands were to too tired or hurt too bad to raise and stretch across the cross? If his back hurt too bad to let himself be beaten so we could have healing?
If he was too tired or hurt too badly to become the sacrifice for our sins? Of course not. Now when someone doesn't stand to praise or asks to sit down or says they're tired or something hurts, often more than one of the kids beats me to the punch and lets them know God is worth an hour of our time to praise together.
It may sound a little harsh to hold the kids to such a standard. After all they are just kids and by the time they've spent all day at school and in sports practices and such they likely are tired.
I believe that there is no better time to teach our kids what a sacrifice of praise is and that they CAN offer one themselves. After all, Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
When they are older and a sacrifice means more than just praising when they are tired or really want to play a game, they will know from experience that they CAN. When the devil tries to whisper in their ear that they don't have a right to praise, they will know that they CAN. When the world tries to distract them and drag them down they will be able to say with confidence, "I CAN offer the sacrifice of praise!"