This is Pastor Tim’s article which appeared in the Evening Leader on Tuesday, Nov 21
As many of you know, I grew up in a little town east of Lima called Alger. Unless you know someone from Alger, you probably have never been there. My family attended what was known as the brick church in town. It has been a long time since I have been inside that old church, but I could describe every square inch of the building. I can tell you about the smell; I can tell you about Sunday school classes and church dinners and special events that I was a part of for the 22 years I attended that church. Calvin Waugh was the pastor of that church, and one of the greatest honors of my life was presiding over his funeral back in April of 2021. Only God could create a crown as big as the one that man deserves.
I still remember all the songs we used to sing. We didn’t sing them well, but we did sing them joyfully. On a good Sunday, we would have about 135 people in church. One of the songs that we sang in fairly regular rotation is probably familiar to many of you if you grew up in the church. It was called “Count Your Blessings.” The song was from the Gaithers, which meant it was contemporary music back in those days. Guy Penrod made this song famous by singing it in the way that only he could.
There are a few verses to the song, but the chorus goes like this: “Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your blessings, see what God hath done; Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.”
One of the things that music used to do is teach you something through the lyrics. Music today doesn’t do that. Most modern music is about as hollow as it is meaningless. This goes for both secular and Christian music. Music that has depth and meaning has to do one of two things: a) make a meaningful observation about the world, or b) challenge you to grow in some way. A lot of the “Jesus is my boyfriend” music that passes as Christian music today is just lame. This is why Taylor Swift is about the worst thing to happen to music in my lifetime. Yes, she does have some talent, but the lyrics of her songs are just so ridiculous that it is almost laughable.
Contrary to much of the forgettable music of today, I have not sung this “Count Your Blessings” song in close to 30 years, and I still remember the lyrics, which still have meaning today. I promise you, with all due respect to my home church, we sang these songs horribly. Today, I am tone-deaf, and I think that is because of the singing in that little church. But I remember these lyrics, and they come back to me in a powerful way this week, and I give them to you as a gift.
I want you to count your many blessings, I want you to name them one by one, because if you don’t, you will have no idea what God has done. There are plenty of things both locally and globally that make it hard to see anything good happening in our world. That is the world’s smokescreen to convince you that God isn’t doing anything. That simply is not true. But if you don’t make an effort to pay attention, you will never know. Those blessings that you and I should be counting will get lost in the noise of this world.
It is so easy to not be thankful because that is the coward’s way out. You can just develop tunnel vision on what is bad, and I will say it again, there is plenty of distracting bad stuff out there. You can make your whole life about what is wrong and nurse that chip on your shoulder until it grows into a boulder you are carrying around. That is your choice, and you are welcome to do it. But you will not be able to take advantage of the holiday coming up this week without intentional focus on how you have been blessed.
So commit to doing what I have committed to do, live out the lyrics of that old Gaither’s song and count your blessings, name them one by one. Blessings are just like any other resource you have in your life; if you don’t take stock of them, you will not know what you have. You are more blessed than you realize; you just have to put forth the effort to count those blessings. And this week, you will have an excellent opportunity to do just that.