This month we celebrate Thanksgiving. This past week I have found myself wishing that October would hurry up and the first three weeks of November would flash by in a blink and the wonderful, family and food filled week of rest and joy would be here! Somehow it is easier to be thankful when you have a couple of days off, the meals are sumptuous, and friends and family come in from out of town. At least it seems easier for me to be thankful at those times. It isn’t quite so easy to be truly thankful when the work is heavy, the cares are many, and the lunches rushed…

At times like those we still thank God for loving us; we still thank him for our food, our health, and our salvation. But sometimes we thank God with an indifferent, distracted, or downright cold heart. At times like those I like to remind myself of Henry Smith’s wonderful praise song:

Give thanks with a grateful heart,
Give thanks, to the Holy One,
Give thanks because He’s given
Jesus Christ, His Son
And now, let the weak say, “I am strong”
Let the poor say, “I am rich,”
Because of what the Lord has done for us.

I know that the song was first published in 1986, but whether or not it was in late November, Henry Smith wasn’t in the middle of a “Thanksgiving kind of time.” Henry had been a seminary student who had been unable to continue his studies in 1978 due to a degenerative eye disease. But despite closed doors and failing vision, he was focused on what God had done from him through Christ. His words called both himself and others – to this day – to have grateful hearts that sing our thanks to God.

Beloved in the Lord Jesus, this has been a year of poverty and weakness for some of us. For others of us it has been a year of growth and excitement. But for all of us, it has been a year in which we have once again been strengthened and enriched by the grace of God that was once for all demonstrated in his giving us Jesus Christ to be our Savior and our Lord. It is my hope and prayer that that fact alone will be sufficient to move my heart to gratitude – that I might truly give thanks today. Today, as October comes to a close, my schedule is choked, my youngest has the flu… Today, you and I have a Savior who has risen from the dead and is seated on the throne of heaven right now. Our sins have been forgiven and we have been adopted into the very family of God. We are guests at the Lord’s own table. Today, we have great cause for being truly grateful!

Your Pastor,
Bob Bjerkaas

  1. Well said pastor and thank you for the history behind one of my favorite songs. It seems without exception many of our enduring songs or praise and worship have been penned during times of tragedy, sorrow, or deep remorse.

    Nevertheless let us, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalm 100: 4

    A blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours.

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