January 2001

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”(1. Thessalonians 5:15 - NIV)That’s something that’s all that easy for me. I tend to walk into a situation and look for flaws before I admit to what was good. The worship sessions at Urbana were like that. Here I was with 19,000 young people, all of whom were worshiping God out of a full heart and all I could do was think about what I thought were negatives: too much repetition, too shallow lyrics. But worship’s not about me and my preferences. It’s about Jesus and thanking Him for who He is and what he’s done for us. God pointed out to me that I was wrong.

How often are we critical of things when we should be thankful for them and look for the positives? That was my problem. As the psalmist writes, “He who offers the sacrifice of praise honors me and opens the way, that I may show him the salvation of the Lord.” (Psalm 50:23 - NIV) We are called to be thankful about everything, even things that we don’t like or enjoy. When I repented of my critical spirit Urbana changed for me and I was really able to worship God freely, even in a setting where I wasn’t entirely comfortable. Thankfulness can do that. And I thank God that He showed me that truth.