Giving Thanks in Song
Hebrews 13:15 “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”
The older I get, the more I appreciate the simple act of thanksgiving. No other verbal act has the power of a timely and appropriate word of thanks. It is an act that can move us to the highest realms of praise and at the same time an act that can bring us to the lowest depths of humility. It is an act that helps us appreciate what we have and an act that helps us recognize the want of others. It is an act that can convict us of the tiniest hypocrisy and an act that can bring us massive amounts of joy and contentment. It is an act that spits in the face of Satan and an act that embraces the wonders of God.
There are many ways in which we can be thankful. Let us consider in this brief study being thankful in our singing. Out of all of the acts of worship, in a lot of ways, singing can be the most emotionally satisfying. God certainly knew what He was doing when he incorporated singing into His worship. One may experience great sadness while singing or one may ride soaring waves of joy. Given the great range of emotion possible in song and the great range of attitudes engendered through thankfulness, singing is the perfect act of worship to couple with the attitude of thankfulness.
We have some great songs of thanksgiving in our hymnals. The song “For the Beauty of the Earth” is a song of thanksgiving. It poetically states in the chorus, “Lord of all to thee we raise, this our sacrifice of praise.” The sacrifice of praise as recorded in Hebrews 13:15 is thankfulness.
“Count your blessings” is another song of thankfulness. It is very difficult to look at all of the blessings that surround us on a daily basis and not be thankful. Naming those blessings one by one calls us to thankfulness for each and every one. It moves us to consider the magnitude of detail for which we may be thankful.
A more recent song of thankfulness simply states: “Thank you Lord for loving me / and thank you Lord for blessing me. / Thank you Lord for making me whole / and saving my soul. / Thank you Lord for loving me. / Thank you Lord for saving my soul.” These very simple lyrics could not be more profound for they convey in few words the essence of what thankfulness entails: the expression of the creature’s total and complete dependence upon the Creator.
And we need to cultivate this attitude of thankfulness as we sing praises to God whether we are saying the words “Thank you” or not. One may experience the thankful attitude—the attitude of realizing our dependence upon God—in every song we sing. Whether we sing “Praise Him, Praise Him,” “Kneel at the cross,” “Whate’er You Do in Word or Deed” or “‘Tis Midnight and On Olive’s Brow” we are acknowledging dependence upon God. One cannot truly realize this dependence and not offer a word of thanksgiving.
The individual Christian does not have it within his capacity to solve the problems of the nearly seven billion people who live on the earth. Some are dying even as we consider these words. Where we can act, we must, but what can we do beyond our ability to assuage the guilt and pain of those suffering both physically and spiritually? Brethren, let us be thankful (Colossians 3:15).