Who Do You Thank?

When I first heard the songAll Good Gifts” in the adorably ragamuffin movie version of Godspell way back in 1973, I got choked up. I didn’t understand why. And then, even though I considered God (“if there even is such a thing”) a mindless force, I began to cry when the cast sang:

We thank thee, then, O Father,
For all things bright and good,
The seed time and the harvest,
Our life, our health, our food:
No gifts have we to offer
For all thy love imparts,
But that which thou desirest,
Our humble, thankful hearts.

Not just because of Stephen Schwartz’s lilting melody or Merrill’s sweet tenor, but because the century’s-old words touched some deep longing in me. A longing that overrode my official atheist-turned-agnostic-turned-“I have my own religion” views at the time. A longing that pre-existed not just my theories, but me. A longing to know, love, and thank my Creator for my very existence.

I learned later that virtually every study on happiness shows an inseparable connection to gratitude. Humans are wired to give thanks. We’re made that way.

Three years later, I took a leap of faith, and for the first time began thanking God “for all things bright and good.” But most of all, because I had “no gifts to offer,” I offered him the one thing he desired, my “humble, thankful heart.” And I still do. But when I forget and focus on mere things, the longing returns. And then I remember what I’m made for.

On this day that Americans call Thanksgiving, I’m grateful to those who love and support me, to my wife, to my family and friends, and to those who are kinder to me than I deserve. But most of all, I’m grateful to the One who made them. The One responsible for all good gifts.Β 

Who do you thank?

Happy Thanksgiving!

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Memoir, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith, Videos and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Who Do You Thank?

  1. Gersom Clark says:

    Happy Thanksgiving, Mitch! GOD bless you and your family!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I love that song! I remember that year I got out my guitar and sang it at the Thanksgiving dinner table. College freshman and budding Jesus freak, I wanted the family to know Whom I was thanking that year. πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 6 people

  3. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Mitch!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Piano girl says:

    Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for sharing your journey.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Amen, Mitch! Happy Thanksgiving! God bless!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. All thanks ultimately goes to God, but I still thank my mom for teaching me how to make a grill cheese sandwich.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Linda Lee/Lady Quixote says:

    I did not leave my agnostic atheism behind until March 11, 2003. Later that same year, a coworker invited me to Thanksgiving dinner. That same coworker is now my Best Friend Husband. I have SO MUCH to be grateful for!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. A beautiful testimony, Mitch, may you and yours be blessed.
    I thank God for rescuing me from a life of despair and ultimately eternal damnation, in exchange He gave me what I don’t deserve an intimate relationship with Him for all eternity. Beyond that, I am grateful for people who prayed for me throughout my life. Especially the prayers that cultivated the soil of my heart to receive what Christ had to offer.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. susankgray says:

    Thank you, that was beautifully communicated. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. CG Thelen says:

    So thankful for our steadfast God who pursues us with His love and grace.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. vegtutor says:

    Beautifully stated. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Bob Martin says:

    The line “we have no gifts to offer” reminds me of the “Little Drummer Boy” line “I have no gift to bring, no gift fit for a king.” That one always chokes me up

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Happy Thanksgiving, Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. We are truly blessed to have your perspective, Mitch. Even though at the time I didn’t understand as well. It is so great that we are given time to gain true meaning. The years of the 1970s were a time of enlightenment. To reflect upon that time I see the blessings of being weird enough to hold on to reality. Today we need to channel our thoughts to that which is worthy of our Thanks. Great post as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Happy Thanksgiving 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Rocky says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Mitch

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Lovely! Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. tidalscribe says:

    I have never seen that film, love the clothes. We used to sing those words at school and church, but a different tune.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. numrhood says:

    what was mitchs life in years 97 98 99 & 44

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Dora says:

    β€œI really wanna thank you Lord!” πŸŽΆπŸŽ΅πŸ™πŸ˜Š

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Heidi Viars says:

    Grateful for you, Mitch! Hope your Thanksgiving continues to last way past today!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I thank God, hopefully every day many times! At least that is my goal πŸ˜ŠπŸ™πŸ» Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Dave E says:

    Well said, my friend. Grace, mercy, undeserved favor are a few more that come to mind for me…regularly.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Gary Fultz says:

    Thankyou for passing the gratitude plate around the Word Press family table Mitch. All who partake can have a good slice of happiness for dessert. May there be many leftovers.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Dad4Gracie says:

    So loved this post! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Dad4Gracie says:

    I really enjoyed this post. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Ray Stiles says:

    I dont seem to remember you thanking my girlfriend Teri Wise or myself for taking you to see Godspell for the first time or for even finding your lost childhood best friend, either?

    Just sayin, Ray ⛧

    Liked by 1 person

    • mitchteemley says:

      I don’t remember you and Teri taking me to see the movie, Ray, but thanks. What lost best friend are you referring to?


      • Mitch, don’t you remember when you said that when we went to see the film Godspell, was when you found Jesus of Nazareth, but I told you it was more likely when we went to see Jesus Christ Superstar at the Aquarius Theater on Sunset Blvd.

        Especially since, the Andrew Lloyd Webber story for Jesus Christ Superstar is loosely based on the Gospels’ accounts of the last week of Jesus’s life, beginning with the preparation for the arrival of Jesus and his disciples in Jerusalem and ending with the crucifixion.

        If you don’t remember, you can always ask Rory or call down the spirits from the mountain, bring up, call down, conjure, invoke, call forth, put forward, arouse, evoke, stir and raise up Bev…? ;^)


      • mitchteemley says:

        Ray, I became a Jesus follower in 1976, three years after the release of the movie Godspell. I also saw several stage productions of the play, and even directed one. The theatrical production of Jesus Christ Superstar had no effect on my beliefs.


  28. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    Isn’t is great when a song or poem glows with the Holy Spirit. Do you know what song Jesus sang on the cross in Godspell. That one really got me.

    Merry Christmas,


    Liked by 1 person

  29. Pingback: Who Do You Thank?

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