Epochal Song 2: Give Thanks (Henry Smith,1978)

Give Thanks remains one of the most enduring songs of the praise and worship movement and is still regularly sung today in church services all over the world.

The song would also introduce the church to a young worship leader by the name of Don Moen, who would later become one of the fathers and shaping influences of the worship movement.

For those of us who have been around for a while, it’s hard to talk about worship without mentioning Don Moen.  I think that our worship style has moved on significantly from those days, but songs which Moen subsequently penned, like “God Will Make a Way” still hold a special place in our hearts.

Every time in church when the worship leader calls “God is good” and the congregation answers “all the time”, we are reminded of Moen’s lasting influence.

But the song “Give Thanks” remains in the worship canon because of the simplicity of its reminder:  “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess 5:17).

At church today, the preacher said that the key to unlocking God’s favour in our lives is to give thanks.  I wondered how those two things actually connected.  Tthe same way that we receive Christ, that is, by faith, is the same way that we receive his unmerited favour in our lives every day:  by believing and trusting God.  Giving thanks, I believe, helps us to lift our eyes above our present circumstances and fix them on Jesus.

Just last Friday, I thought I had messed something up at work.  When faced with such a situation, our first reaction is to panic.  I sat there frozen at my desk for a good 5 minutes.  When the whole situation was over, the outcome was better than I could ever  haveexpected.  I took a few minutes to breathe a sigh of relief and to thank God for his favour.  In that moment, I knew that there was no way that situation could have resolved itself but for the grace of God.

When I was a  young lawyer, my principal always said (whenever we picked up the mistake of another lawyer) “There but for the grace of God, go I”.  The older I get, the more I understand this truth.  It’s true of legal practice, and it’s true of life.  Where would we be if not for His grace?

So it makes me want to sing:  “And now, let the weak say I am strong; let the poor say I am rich”.  For when I am weak, then He is strong.

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