So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz at the first. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.” Genesis 28:18-22 ESV
I love the Lord, because he has heard
my voice and my pleas for mercy.
Because he inclined his ear to me,
therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
The snares of death encompassed me;
the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
I suffered distress and anguish.
Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“O Lord, I pray, deliver my soul!”
For you have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling;
I will walk before the Lord
in the land of the living.
What shall I render to the Lord
for all his benefits to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord,
I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people. Psalm 116:1-4, 8-9, 12-14 ESV
Annie lived next to Mr. and Mrs. Hughes. She became very good friends with them. She visited them often, and sometimes helped them with housework or yardwork. The Hughes didn’t have any children, and they were very fond of Annie. Annie’s family didn’t have much money, and although she really wanted to go to college, she knew her parents would never be able to afford it. Then one day Mr. and Mrs. Hughes said, “Annie, you are just like a daughter to us. We don’t have any children of our own, so we’ve decided that we’ll pay for your college tuition.”
Annie was so happy that she didn’t know what to say. She almost started to cry. She finally said, “If you’ll put me through college, I promise that when you become old, I’ll take care of you just as if you were my parents.” This promise was her way of thanking them for what they had promised to do for her.
Jacob also received incredible promises of blessings from God. Jacob had sinfully tricked his father and cheated his brother, and he was overwhelmed by the love and grace of God that forgave his sins and promised never to leave him. So Jacob made a promise to God as a way of saying a special thank you. He promised to love and serve God, to give God a tenth of everything he earned, and to set aside the place where he was as a place to worship God.
We also have received many blessings from God. Everything good we have comes from him–our homes and families, food and clothing, education and friends. Most of all, God has given us the blessing of his Son, Jesus, who came to die for us on the cross so our sins could be forgiven. Because of that, we have life with God forever.
Many people like to give special gifts to God to thank him for things he’s done for them. They might bring flowers to church, or give extra money for God’s work. Perhaps they give extra time to serve others for God. The best way to thank God for his blessings is to give him our hearts in worship. This is what Jacob did. The Holy Spirit helps us to worship, love, and serve God in thankfulness for what he’s done for us.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for all the blessings you’ve given us. Help us to love and serve you all our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.