Day 4

Count Your Blessings

from the Go Tell It on the Mountain reading plan


Psalm 40:4-5, Psalm 107:23-31, Psalm 136:1-26, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: Psalm 40:4-5, Psalm 107:23-31, Psalm 136:1-26, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

No doubt many things got started in 1892. One of the many was the hymn-writing career of Johnson Oatman, Jr.

He wrote 5,000 hymns during his lifetime, a handful widely regarded as standards: “Higher Ground,” “No, Not One!,” and “Count Your Many Blessings.” That final example was first published in a songbook for young people. It is considered to be Oatman’s opus. One critic said: “Like a beam of sunlight it has brightened up the dark places of the earth.”

The Sunday nights of my childhood were spent in church, hemmed in among the waistlines of good Baptists. The feeling was laid back, no strict order of service like the morning. Often the song leader would loosen his tie and ask us for our favorite hymns. We Baptists didn’t bet, but some voice crying out “Count Your Many Blessings” was a sure thing, every time.

On those easy-like-Sunday evenings, the last half of that hymn’s chorus held a temptation too great for a song leader to resist: congregational participation. He’d always surrender. He would gradually slow us during that high E-flat “Count your blessings,” followed by the descending “name them one by one.” Then he’d bring us up full stop, still as sheep. He’d grin and say, “Now I know one of you has a blessing to count.” A grateful voice would rise, followed by another, and then another. And we would name them, always surprised at what the Lord had done, every time.


Count Your Blessings
by Johnson Oatman, Jr.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Refrain:
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.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, ev’ry doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings, money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

So, amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

SRT-Hymns7-Instagram-4

John Blase preached for over a decade but then he thought he’d go where the money is, so he started writing poetry. He’s a lucky man with a stunning wife and three kids who look like their mother. He lives out West but he’ll always be from the South. His books include The Jubilee: Poems; Know When To Hold ‘Em: The High Stakes Game of Fatherhood; and All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir (co-written with Brennan Manning). He ponders faithfully at johnblase.com.


Sources:

Morgan, Robert J. Then Sings my Soul. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2011.

Osbeck, Kenneth W. 101 Hymn Stories: The Inspiring Stories Behind 101 Favorite Hymns. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2012.

Post Comments (46)

46 thoughts on "Count Your Blessings"

  1. Erin says:

    Great messages in today’s bible verses.

  2. Ashley BB says:

    This hymn is a beautiful reminder to continuously seek out the hand of God in our lives. He is in every detail, big and small, good and bad, and His blessings are even in the parts of our lives that bring grief.

    It is in my trails and struggles that I can see how close God is and how He loves and blesses His children. I compare myself to others so often that it comes naturally and without thinking about it. Today, with each thought, I will turn my eyes to Jesus, calling out and appreciating all the ways He is present in my life.

    1. Ashley BB says:

      Trials*

    2. Jody Heavenrich Hensley says:

      I recorded your words in my book so that I can remember this for myself. Thank you.

  3. Veronica says:

    The verse about money hit me in the core today. Money is what puts food on the table, allows us to live in a certain place, and ensures that I have enough to care for my toddler. It’s easy to look at others who are way ahead of you in the ‘money’ game and envy their homes, their income, their lifestyle. ‘If only I made what they made, I would certainly be more generous. If only I had their paycheck, I would definitely tithe more. If only I had that home, my family would be happier.’ Lately I have become driven by it, in the guise of trying to provide a better life for my family.

    Money brings lies to our heart and tempts us to forget the blessings we have already been granted. Life is beautiful, even without a house or the means to give money away. I just love the wording in this hymn-

    “When you look at others with their lands and gold,
    Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
    Count your many blessings, money cannot buy
    Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.”

    Right now, I hear my little girl in her bedroom, chanting ‘dad dad daaad.’ Such a blessing. My husband is next to me, studying his own devotion today and pursuing God’s presence. Such a blessing. I have sweet friends who accept me despite my sin and quirky conduct. Such a blessing. And then, there’s this free, online community that studies the word together, prays for each other, and pushes each other towards Christ. Such a blessing.

    My heart is rejoicing – how generous is our God! We may not have everything this earth offers, but in Christ don’t we truly have *everything* we need?

    Share with me, sisters- How has Christ blessed you today?

    1. Jami says:

      Through your comment here! I, too, struggle with comparison – my focus needs to be on Jesus alone. Then I will be able to see only all I have been given, which in reality is too much to name- instead of what I don’t have. Thank you for this sweet reminder!

    2. Amanda says:

      And the hymn lays out how “simple” refocusing ourselves can be. By simply taking the time to think of our blessings and thank God for giving them to us, it changes our focus from comparison to gratefulness. :)

  4. GramsieSue says:

    This is a delightful study. I must admit, I was not excited to study old hymns. Two of my grown children play in the praise band at our church and I absolutely love the music they play! I was raised on the hymns and I am nostalgic about them but I couldn’t think how this study could compare to the others we have done. I am pleasantly surprised ❤️
    Each morning brings new blessings and I’m even sharing this with friends, daughter-in-love, my high school girls small group that I teach….
    It amazes me that so many women around the world, in all walks of life, in all ages, nationalities, skin colors, health states….the list goes on-and we all have the same desire: to grow closer to Christ and become women who represent His love to the world in which we live! I am so blessed! And yes, I will be counting my blessings today because it’s all from God so it’s all good! Love and blessings to all you wonderful ladies! ❤️

  5. Katalina says:

    Say it with me my sisters, I AM BLESSED ❤️

  6. Hailey T. says:

    I find my heart called to praise in nature. Especially bird song. He finds me in the wilderness and lifts me up with the beauty and grace surrounding me. oh, how blessed we are to live this life He wrote out for us. Surely we have a wonderful inheritance!

  7. DebbieinAZ says:

    This is one I didn’t know, so I went in search on you tube. Such a sweet hymn. Love it. Here’s the link https://youtu.be/vohlRrPAIXM.
    Have a blessed day sisters.

    1. GramsieSue says:

      I LOVED this! A great a cappella rendition of our hymn! ❤️

    2. Georgianna says:

      Thanks for sharing that. It was lovely!

  8. Gina Glennon says:

    As I thought about all of God’s blessings in my life, and by His grace there are so many, I was reminded of God’s abundant, beautifully overwhelming blessings of relationships–first and foremost with Jesus, my Lord and Savior, and the blessing of almost 40 years of Christian marriage, our children and grandchildren, our church family, numerous brothers and sisters in the Lord, and on and on it goes. Oh Praise the Lord, for His goodness, mercy and faithfulness all the days long! Singing! Singing! Singing! This study is simply delightful!

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