As I meditated several days ago on the ending of the old year and the beginning of the new one, I tried to focus on some specific things the Lord might want me to do in 2020. I’m sure there will be more, but for now, two things stand out. One is to intentionally memorize some Old and New Testament passages over the next 12 months. I have started that with a passage from Philippians 4.
The other is to choose a song for the year, as a theme song for my life during 2020. The song I chose is “Thrive,” by Casting Crowns.
Before I share why I picked this particular song, here’s some background information.
It was the summer of 2003, and Mark and Kathleen Willey Peterson, their daughters, and a pastor from Cuba came to visit us in Nashville. We were actually in the process of moving to a new house that week, and they were a great help to us in that move; we’ll forever be grateful. While visiting together during those days, Kathleen and the Cuban pastor sang a song by a group I’d never heard of: Casting Crowns. The lead vocalist was a youth pastor, and the song was “If We Are the Body.” Tremendous, challenging lyric “but if we are the body, why aren’t our arms reaching? Why aren’t His hands healing? Why aren’t His words teaching?
Years later, they released the modern hymn “O Glorious Day,” based on the classic hymn “One Day” (When Heaven Was Filled with His Praises).
Another of Casting Crowns’ songs I’ve loved for years is “Praise You in This Storm.”
"I'll praise you in this storm, and I will lift my hands;
For you are who you are, no matter where I am.
And every tear I cry you hold in your hand;
And though my heart is torn, I'll praise you in this storm."
What a message! What comfort! Strength and stability in the midst of the inevitable trials that come into our lives.
Then, recently, there’s the song “Nobody.” It makes much of Jesus, and I love that!
"’Cause I'm just a nobody
Trying to tell everybody
All about Somebody who saved my soul.
Ever since You rescued me,
You gave me a song to sing
I’m living for the world to see nobody but Jesus.
Strong, solid, Scriptural lyrics that encourage and challenge us, and facilitate our worship of the living Christ. That’s what all Christian songs should do: old and new, classic and contemporary, hymns and gospel songs, upbeat and solemn.
So why did I pick “Thrive” as my 2020 song?
Well, I am 69 years old, a lot closer to the end of my earthly journey than I’ve ever been. I want my life to count. As the song states “we know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives. It’s time for us to more than just survive. We were made to thrive.
Another part of the song says:
“So living water flowing through,
God we thirst for more of You,
Fill our hearts and flood our souls with one desire
Just to know you and to make you known,
we lift your name on high…”
I’m not sure why, but as I meditated around New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, that song came into my mind and gripped my heart, and I thought “Lord, I want to do more than just survive…I want to thrive! Let my life count for you, even in old age. I want to be fruitful (Psalm 92). Please, Lord, don’t let me just coast along in neutral. As a husband, a dad, a grandfather, a friend, a believer, use me for your glory! Let me live in Your love, trust in your grace, and serve through your strength. And do you know something? I believe He will answer that prayer!