Music is an integral part of worship. It is a way to convey feelings like no other. We sing songs from a hymnal in church, as well as short songs called choruses. They are sometimes called "7-11 songs," because they often have about seven words which are sung 11 times.
Here is one of my favorite choruses, which goes like this:
"Thanks, thanks, I give you thanks for all you've done. I'm so blessed, my soul has found rest, O Lord, I give you thanks."
It was written by a man who walks with a limp due to an injury from an auto accident. His wife was taken from this life in that accident. Later he remarries and nearly loses his second wife to a battle with cancer. In all the turmoil he went through, he thought to offer thanks to the Lord with his song.
Thanks can be expressed to the Lord in many ways including singing, prayer, praise and worship.
"O give thanks" is a recurring phrase of Psalm 136. Paul adds a simple phrase to his instructions on godly living in Colossians 3:15, "And be ye thankful."
Expressing thanks is an important part of interacting with others. We teach our children to say, "Thank you," and other phrases as practice in being polite.
Giving thanks has the unique quality of bringing a warm memory of the event you are thankful for or of the one who brought about the reason for thanks.
The Gospel of Luke relates the story of 10 lepers who lived together in sad seclusion. The men existed in misery, with their number a constant reminder of the dread disease destroying their fingers and toes. Leprosy was slowly, but with finality, altering their faces and futures. If they sang any songs, they were more than likely depressing and full of despair.
As he journeyed to Jerusalem, Jesus passed through their village. Standing far off, they called out to Christ, "Jesus, master, have mercy on us."
Jesus replied, "Go show yourselves unto the priests." This was an odd command because it needed only to be done if they were cleansed.
Obediently, they started on their way. As they went, sudden realization came to each of them that they were healed. The former lepers had their songs changed from sorrow to songs of great joy.
One of the 10 turned back to glorify God. Falling prostrate before Jesus he expressed his thanks.
Jesus told him, "Arise, go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole." His return to give thanks resulted in receiving a greater blessing.
As we think about Thanksgiving Day, we have much to be thankful for in America. Freedom and liberty that we value so much was paid for with a great price during difficult conflicts. Even now that price is being paid on the other side of the world and we are thankful for the men and women who serve with such sacrifice.
Freedom to serve God is even greater than civil liberties alone. Jesus said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make ye free."
His ministry included bringing good news as well as healing, deliverance, recovery and liberty as told in Luke 4:18. After experiencing the results of his blessing in these areas, giving thanks is not a struggle.
During this season of giving thanks, may your continuing song be, "Thanks, thanks, I give you thanks ...."
Mitch Glover is the pastor of the Sterling United Pentecostal Church, at Swanson River Road and Entrada. Sunday school is at 10 a.m. and the worship service is at 11 a.m.
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