The little church I was raised in caught on fire, as it were, and grew considerably, going from about two hundred members to several thousand in a fifteen to twenty year period. Weekly worship attendance swelled from less than a hundred to over two thousand. And in the midst of this, at its peak, the youth group of which I was a part ran over two hundred in attendance each week for Bible Study.
The Lord used that church in my life in a powerful way. I was converted, baptized, called to ministry, licensed to preach, and ordained to the ministry in that place. As a result, I have spent some forty five years engaged in ministry in some form or the other. For all these things, I am especially thankful.
I also walked into a tenth grade Sunday School class in that place and met the young lady who would one day become my wife. The two of us would spend our lives together, and be used of God to bring three children and, through them, seven grandchildren into this world. For all of these things, I am equally grateful.
These days, as I reflect on those formative teenage years, I realize just how crucial they were in setting the course for my entire adult life. And I thank God more and more and more for allowing me to travel the path that I have in life.
One of the songs we used to sing in weekly Bible Study, as well as on retreats to the beach or to the mountains stressed the importance of being thankful. The chorus went something like this:
"We’ve got so much so much so much so much so much
So much so much so much so much so much
So much so much so much to be thankful for!
We’ve got so much so much so much so much so much
So much so much so much so much so much
So much so much so much to be thankful for!"
Interspersed was a succession of verses repeating this phrase:
"We’ve got ____________ to be thankful for;
we’ve got ____________ to be thankful for."
Different phrases were then inserted into each successive verse, each one expressing the various things we were all grateful for. For instance, we would sing such verses as…
"We’ve got our Savior to be thankful for; we’ve got our Savior to be thankful for."
"We’ve got our Bible to be thankful for; we’ve got our Bible to be thankful for."
"We’ve got each other to be thankful for; we’ve got each other to be thankful for."
We might go through half a dozen or so such items for which we were appreciative of in each rendition. Different persons in the group would feel free to call out something for us to sing about in the next verse, and this would go on for some time. The list of things might change from week to week; but the song was always sung with enthusiasm by everyone involved.
As I write this, it is the night before Thanksgiving; and for whatever reason, I have spent the better part of this whole day with this little praise chorus stuck in my head. I’ve been humming it and singing it repeatedly.
And here is the strange thing I have discovered. The more things I give thanks to God for, the more things He brings to mind for which to give Him thanks. I have had very little trouble coming up with things to keep singing about and praising Him for all throughout the day.
In the New Testament Gospel of John (chapter 14, verse 26), Jesus tells His disciples that the Holy Spirit would one day come to them and remind them of all the words and deeds He shared with them when they first began to follow Him. John also tells us that, on at least two occasions later on, the Disciples did indeed remember their powerful earlier discussions and experiences with their Master.
No doubt as they recalled these times, their hearts were filled with gladness and with gratitude for all they been allowed to experience earlier in their lives.
I leave you with the words of Johnson Oatman in his classic hymn: "Count Your Blessings"…
"When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done."
The well-known refrain says:
"Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done."
And in the final verse, he writes:
"So, amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end."
Oatman may just be right here. God may well use angels to remind us of our blessings. But most assuredly, the Holy Spirit Himself will come along beside us and bring to our minds the goodness with which God has blessed us through His Son, Jesus Christ.
This day in my life is living proof of that. For all day long, the Holy Spirit has reminded me that I myself have...
"so much, so much, so much, so much, so much, so much, so much, so much, so much, so much, so much, so much, so much to be thankful for!"
No doubt you do as well.
PRAISE CHORUS LYRICS:
https://biblehub.com/john/14-26.htm. Note the cross references in the right hand column for the Disciples’ later remembrances.