Jump Start # 2741
2 Corinthians 9:15 “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”
Today we wrap up our little series on hymns. I’ve been looking at different hymns that are meaningful to me personally. Each of us could make up our own lists, and that might be a good exercise. In this last installment, I want to consider a modern song, “Thank You, Lord!” Eighteen times in that short, two verse song, the words “thank you” are used. The song demonstrates a heart that is so grateful to the wonderful Lord.
The song was written in 1990 by Dennis Jernigan. The Oklahoma native also gave us the song, “You are my all in all.” Jernigan was born in 1959 and said in an interview that he wanted to express his thankfulness to the Lord for changing a sinful life and making it a useful vessel for the Lord. And, for all of us who are Christians, that is our story and that is our song. As stated in the wonderful hymn, Amazing Grace, “I once was lost but now I’m found.”
So, here in this hymn, Jernigan brings to the forefront the expressing of thanks to our God. The Lord didn’t have to save us. He didn’t owe us anything. He very easily could have turned His back on us. He could have said, “You made the mess. Clean it up.” But, He didn’t. From the early pages of Genesis, there is God, covering Adam and Eve and beginning the process of bringing man back to God where we belong.
Our verse today well describes all of this. Thanks be to God. So often the words, “Thank you,” just do not seem to be enough. The gift is so great. The expression of love is so enormous. All we have is simply two words, “Thank you.”
But, thank you are more than words. They become a way of life. A grateful life. A thankful life. And, this is what it looks like:
First, to be thankful, one expresses it in words. “Oh, they know,” just doesn’t cut it. We need to, and we must, say it. “Thank you,” with a smile on a face and heartfelt warmth towards the giver. In our prayers, we must remember to thank the Lord.
Second, to be thankful, one values, honors and cares for the gift that was given. In this case, it’s our salvation. We show our thankfulness by protecting our salvation. We walk close to the Lord. We guard our faith. We resist the devil. We put on the armor of God. Being careless shows that one isn’t very thankful. Being indifferent shows that one isn’t very thankful.
Third, to be thankful is to praise the giver. Here, it is God. We praise Him in worship. We praise Him by living righteous lives. We praise Him as we tell others about Him.
In this hymn, there are several directions that are pointed to. It begins with thanking God for all that He has done. That’s past tense. That would include in our lives. That would include in Biblical history. God has been there to open prison doors, shut the mouths of lions and part seas. He’s protected His people in fiery furnaces, in arks, and in dark dungeons. And, look at what amazing things God has done in your life. He has answered many prayers. He has forgiven you. He has opened doors for you. He has helped you in so many ways.
From there, the song swings to the future. For all that You’re going to do, are things yet to be seen. God is going to send Jesus. God is going to raise the dead. God is going to open the doors of Heaven. There will be more times in our lives that God will be there. When we are finished here, the angels from Heaven will carry us home.
The song then switches to all that God has promised. That would included the prophecies that have been fulfilled and the hope that remains for us. God is true to His word. He doesn’t make promises and then changes His mind and breaks them.
And, just like that, the hymn turns to God. It says, “and all that You are is all that has carried me thro’. The focus is upon the nature of God. The righteous, holy, powerful and loving God. He is the one behind the forgiveness. He stands behind those promises. He is the reason we are thankful.
In this crazy year that we’ve had, there has certainly been many reasons for people to complain. And, most have. But, there remains God. He hasn’t changed. He is the same before Covid, during Covid, and after Covid. He has been our anchor this year. He has not left us. He has not given up on us. He has not turned off the fountain of His blessings. Have we been forgiven this year? Have we had prayers answered this year? Have we been helped this year?
And, to all of that, we say, “That You, Lord.” Those words cannot be said enough. And, I hope that when we reach Heaven, those will be the first words on our lips.
Thank You, Lord!