Christian thankfulness is enthusiastically articulated in singing the popular hymn entitled “Count Your Blessings.” The words to the hymn were written by Johnson Oatman, Jr. The music written by Edwin O. Excell brings to life the expression of gratitude of the people of God in recounting His bountiful blessings.
“Count your many blessings, Name them one by one
And it will surprise you What the Lord hath done.
Count your blessings, Name them one by one.
Count your blessings, See what God hath done.”
Gratitude, thankfulness, and expressing appreciation to God are often neglected. Many of us are accustomed to giving thanks at meal time, but regularly take many other blessings for granted. Every day blessings are often overlooked in expressing gratitude to God.
The Scriptures are replete with numerous references regarding this important theme. Paul strongly suggests that “giving thanks” is a Christian’s duty, 2 Thessalonians 2:13. He testified that he thanks God “upon every remembrance” of the saints who are in Philippi. Philippians 1:1-3. He further declares that he does “not cease to give thanks” in his prayers for the believers at Ephesus. Ephesians 1:16 The Psalmist emphasizes the need to be “thankful” to God and to “bless His name.” Psalm 100:4
Stewardship and thankfulness are a natural fit, they are inseparable. Expressing gratitude to God flows freely from a heart which acknowledges God as creator and Lord of life.
The book Seventh-day Adventists Believe… written by the Ministerial Association General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, affirms the strong connection between stewardship and thankfulness.
“Stewardship is a privilege given to us by God for nurture in love and the victory over selfishness and covetousness. The steward rejoices in the blessings that come to others as a result of his faithfulness.”—Fundamental Beliefs, 20
St Pauls Cathedral, in Syracuse, NY makes this statement “For us, Christian Stewardship is an expression of thanksgiving, a living out of our gratitude for life… We give of who we are and what we have because God has richly given to us.” Vestry Stewardship Covenant 1997.
In his book Theology of Stewardship, Bishop Robert Morneau makes a strong statement linking stewardship and gratitude. He declares, “At the heart of Christian stewardship is a spirit of gratitude for all a generous God does for us.”
If I am a faithful steward, I am a thankful person!
By Mitch Hazekamp