“What Shall I Render to the Lord?” (Psalm 116:12-14)

As we consider our service in the Lord’s kingdom, we often begin with ourselves. We skeptically question, “Do I really have the time to devote to the Lord?” or “Do I really have the money to give to the Lord’s work?” or “Do I really want to devote my abilities to Him?” In so doing, our giving begins with the thought of self. Perhaps, instead of self, we need to first contemplate the Lord and what He has so graciously given to us and let that thought be in our minds before we consider our service to the Almighty.

This approach is exactly the one used by the Psalmist in Psalm 116. He begins his psalm by saying, “I love the Lord, because He has heard My voice and my supplications” (116:1). This idea sounds similar to John’s famous motivation for sacrificial loving as he writes, “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Besides God’s love the psalmist would additionally note,“Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful” (116:5). God’s blessings towards His people are overflowing with goodness and underserved generosity. God has given and still gives to us when He is truly under no obligation to do so. In light of His abundant blessings and beneficent character towards His creation, the psalmist then asks,

Psalm 116:12-14,

12 “What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?

13 I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord.

14 I will pay my vows to the Lord now in the presence of all His people.”

The psalmist posits the question about “What shall I render...” with the understanding God has already far out-given us with “all His benefits”! With the fact of God’s goodness firmly in mind, the psalmist is compelled to say, “I will pay my vows to the Lord now in the presence of all His people” (116:14). In other words, knowing how good God has been to us, God is beyond deserving of our service and gifts.

There are many who ask, “how much should I save for college?” They ask, “How much do money do I need to purchase a house?” Others ask, “How much should I save for retirement?” College may bless us with a career. A house will bless us with shelter for a few years. Retirement funds may cover us up until we die. Yet, the Lord promises to forgive us and bless us for all eternity. May we remember His awesome gift as we ask, “What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?”