Psalm 107 (Give Thanks)

Psalm 107:1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

This is a Psalm about giving thanks.  It begins with the command to give thanks. It follows that up with an invitation to give thanks four times (in verses 8, 15, 21 and 31.)  Each time it says,

”Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.”

On Sunday we talked about the gift of community, and we read Bonhoeffer’s plea that we would not take this gift for granted.  He said that as long as we have this gift, “Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace…”

Gratitude is the antidote for taking things for granted.  Gratitude allows us to see God’s grace bestowed on us.  When we teach our kids to give thanks, we are wanting more than proper manners.  We want them to recognize and appreciate the gift before them.  Like kids, we too need to be constantly reminded to give thanks. And so this Psalm does that for us.  It reminds us that we are to give thanks for his unfailing love and his wonderful and good deeds for us. 

It is easy to complain about all the things we do not have and we cannot do in this time.  Gratitude alone can change our complaining heart to a heart that sees the goodness of God, the grace of God and the blessings of God all around us.

I’m reminded of a story of a pastor who took a trip to a leper colony on the island of Tobago.  He was leading the music portion of the worship service, and for the final song, he asked for a request from the lepers in front of him.  One woman, whose nose and ears were almost completely gone, raised her fingerless hand. Pastor Hinton asked what she wanted to sing.  She asked if they could sing “Count Your Many Blessings.”  Pastor Hinton was so overcome with emotions that she would request such a song, that he could hardly sing that song.  He would say later that he would never sing this song the same way again. Here are words that the lepers sang in unison:

(Chorus)

Count your blessings, Name them one by one

Count your blessings, See what God has done

Count your blessings, Name them one by one

Count your many blessings, See what God has done

(Verse 1)

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 has done

(Verse 2)

Are you ever burdened, With a load of care

Does the cross seem heavy, You are called to bear

Count your many blessings, Every doubt will fly

And you will be singing, As the days go by

(Verse 3)

When you look at others, With their lands and gold

Think that Christ has promised, You His wealth untold

Count your many blessings, Money cannot buy

Your reward in heaven, Nor your home on high

(Verse 4)

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

May we count our many blessings and give thanks to God, for His goodness and unfailing love!

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