With Thanksgiving Day just a few days away. My thoughts have turned to thankfulness and how to express it. We usually go to our daughter’s home for Thanksgiving Day and through the years have watched her family members grow up to be adults. After a bountiful meal, we’d all sit in the living room and listen to the first thanksgiving day story being read. The pilgrims had very few things to be thankful for, many had lost loved ones, but they had the freedom to worship God. And this they freely did on that first Thanksgiving Day,while praising Him for who He is.
After our meal, a cup full of dried corn kernels would be passed and each of us would choose three pieces, each piece representing something we were thankful for. We’d then take turns expressing gratitude for what meant most to us. Oftentimes, it was a person we were most thankful for, mom, dad, brother, husband, wife. We were thankful, too, that we had each other, and we knew that all we had and all that we were, was to God’s glory. Our desires were that He would be glorified through our lives.
As life moves on, the thought that we will not always be together in this world becomes more of a reality and to be thankful for “things” becomes so unimportant. Having each
other, family and relationships are far greater things to be thankful for. Those who believe in God and the eternal life that becomes theirs when we accept Christ as our savior, know that there is a heavenly home awaiting us. However, when God created this world, he thought of everything that we would enjoy here and it could be such a beautiful place. In fact, his Word instructs us on how to live an abundant life here, yet not exempt from trials, tears, hardships and pain.
At a recent memorial service for a friend, the song, “My Tribute,” was sung and I thought
how appropriate this song is to be sung during this season of thankfulness. Andrae Crouch composed it in 1971. He started singing as a boy in his father’s church. I read that his father asked Andrae that if God gave him musical ability, would he use it for God’s glory. His reply was “yes.” His desire was to reach family and kids at school so he shrived to write songs that would clearly present the gospel. He did more than that in the song, “My Tribute.” He expressed gratitude for things so “undeserved” and admitted that “all that he is and ever hoped to be, he owed to God.” That was giving God the glory!
The gospel is also included in this song as he sang the lyrics, “With his blood He has saved me, with His power He has raised me.” Then, in a bridge to the song, he included words that explain what the abundant life is that God promises to those who love Him. He sang, “Just let me live my life, Let it be pleasing, Lord to thee, and if I gain any praise, Let it go to Calvary.“ This may be a simple way to express the abundant life, but living a pleasing life to God is part of it.
For a Christian, fullness of life is not measured in terms of “fun” and “living big,” or in terms
of wealth, prestige, position and power, but measured by fulfilled lives of responsibility and self-restraint, and the rewards and blessings that come to us over a lifetime of pleasing God. Andrea Crouch was a young man of 26 years when he wrote “My Tribute,” and already he seemed to understand what it meant to live abundantly. He is now 72 years old and is a minister, with his twin sister, Sandra, at the church that his mother and father founded. For certain, he knew how to express gratitude to God, just what we should be doing this Thanksgiving Day.
You may remember some of Andrea Crouch’s other songs, “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power,”( this was his first song,) “Through It All,” and “Soon and Very Soon.” Andrea has been awarded many timess for his music, yet he says, “When I hear my old songs, it seems like someone else wrote them.” He talks of having dyslexia, a great disability when writing lyrics. He said he never got big headed over what he’s accomplished,”he doesn’t need the glory, besides,it belongs to God,” he said.
So how is such a successful, some may say favored, man doing today? He has struggled with different forms of cancer, four times. He’s had congestive heart failure, broken ribs, and a cancerous growth on his throat. No matter what, “through it all,” Andrea praises God and gives Him the glory. We should be as grateful, this Thanksgiving Day. I’d like to hear your thoughts on this subject. I am giving you a special invitation to leave your comments on Shirl and You.