What can I give back to the Lord
for all the good things he has done for me?
I’ll lift up the cup of salvation.
I’ll call on the Lord’s name.
I’ll keep the promises I made to the Lord
in the presence of all God’s people.
What Can I Give?
The story is told of three sons who left home, went out on their own, and prospered. Getting back together, they discussed the gifts that they were now able to give to their elderly mother.
The first said: “I built a big house for our mother.”
The second said: “I sent her a Mercedes with a driver.”
The third said: “I’ve got you both beat. You know how Mom enjoys the Bible and you know she can’t see very well. I sent her a talking parrot that can recite the entire Bible. It took twenty monks in a monastery 12 years to teach him. I had to pledge to contribute $100,000 a year for twenty years but it was worth it. Mom just has to name the chapter and verse, and the parrot will recite it.”
Soon thereafter, Mom sent out her letters of thanks.
She wrote to the first son: “Milton, the house you built is too big. I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house.”
She wrote to the second son: “Marvin, I am too old to travel. I stay home all the time, so I never used the Mercedes… and the driver is SO rude.”
She wrote to the third son: “Dearest Melvin, you were the only son to have the good sense to know what your mother likes……I’m writing to tell you that the chicken was delicious!”
Sometimes receiving a gift can be tricky and lead to a lot of questions: Why did this person give me a gift? What am I supposed to do with this gift? What is this thing anyway?
The writer of Psalm 116 tells the story of being saved by God from certain death. When he came face to face with trouble and grief, he called on the name of the Lord. The Lord heard his cry for mercy and rescued him. Then the psalmist asks another gift-related question we often have, “What can I give back in return?”
Psalm 116:12, “What can I give back to the Lord for all the good things he has done for me?”
This is a question we should ask of ourselves. What can we give back to a God who has given us everything? What can we give to a Savior like Jesus who gave his own life so that we can live?
Perhaps the psalmist offers the best answer to this question in verses 13 and 14, “I’ll lift up the cup of salvation. I’ll call on the Lord’s name. I’ll keep the promises I made to the Lord in the presence of all God’s people.”
The psalmist is saying that his gift to God is worship and praise both in solitude and in the presence of all God’s people. In other words, all the time, every moment of every day he will give glory to God for all he has done.
Remember that it may be human nature to try to choose gifts that are equal in value, or like the brothers in the story, greater in value. But for the Christian, the only gift we can truly give the Almighty God is our thankful and obedient hearts. Be blessed knowing that God will receive this gift with great pleasure and joy! Be comforted knowing God is worthy!
Creator God, there is no one like you. You rescue your children from the snares of sin and death. You lift us up in your mighty, strong hand. Transform us to live for you always in grateful obedience. Remind us of your unending faithfulness and love. In the name of our Risen Savior. Amen.