been a number of years since I last heard Ray Boltz's ballad, Thank
you*, when it came on the radio as we were driving to South
Carolina. It got me thinking, but not in the way it once did. Written
as a thank you to his pastor, a number of years ago, the song is set
in heaven where a host of grateful individuals come and thank the man
for things he had done over the years. Each of the actions mentioned,
teaching Sunday school to eight year olds, giving to missions, are
indeed commendable when done in service to God. But the overall
picture seems to be slightly out of focus.
took the gift you gave
that's why I'm here today
certainly makes an individual think about their actions, and whether
they are doing what they should for the Lord. This is good, but what
about that hypothetical scene in heaven? Can you image for one moment
that the focus in heaven will be on anyone other than who it is due,
our Lord and Savior?! Too much of the focus here on earth tends to
the secondary, as though God could not accomplish His will apart from
the deeds of man. Granted, God uses people to accomplish His will,
but He is in no way bound or limited to do so out of necessity. As
His servants, we should be grateful that God gives us the opportunity
to be a part of what He is doing (and will do).
parable may do this justice:
indebted subject appealing to the king for mercy, knowing that he
justly deserves punishment for his failure. The king, out of his
goodness, under no compulsion, grants more than the petitioner could
imagine - the complete forgiveness of his debt and restoration to
service. But it was not the king who delivered the message, as he had
bid a lowly clerk in his service to do so.
forgiven subject is overwhelmed with gratitude, but not for the
clerk. Though he might express it to the clerk, his hope is that it
would be conveyed back to the king. Can you imagine this clerk
somehow thinking that he deserves this praise and some of the glory
for what the king has done? Never!
terms of the thoughts brought to mind from Ray's original song, this
is more what I imagine.
dream of heaven,
happened more like this,
on the Lamb of God
angels for all to miss.
It is the
splendor of the Lord
will grow old
upon His Holy face
some street of gold!
was bigger still,
children of the King!
knew my name up there
praises are what they sing.
who sang that day,
given new birth.
most what He had done
efforts on the earth
done" His voice I heard,
understood or earned.
For by His
was all I
did and learned.
credit for things He'd done?
crossed my mind
sing His praise
no longer blind.
lyrics may not come close to reaching the caliber of those of Ray
Boltz, but hopefully they express a bit of what I was thinking. For
me, the bottom line is that it's all about God. All I do, all I am,
all good that will ever be done, is solely for His glory and to His
praise. Keep your eyes on Him!
42:8 "I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not give my glory
to another... (NIV)
4:9-11 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to
him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the
twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and
worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before
the throne and say: 11 "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to
receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by
your will they were created and have their being." (NIV)
40:5 Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things
you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and
tell of them, they would be too many to declare. (NIV)
Boltz was an excellent Christian songwriter and performer. Perhaps my
all-time favorite is I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb. In
considering a different perspective for one of his songs, it was in
no way to call into question his ministry. Truly, apart from the
perfection of God's word, all writings of man (including mine) should
be open to scrutiny, debate and revision as necessary.
me that I needed to amend this article and note that Ray Boltz choose
to leave his wife of 33 years and subsequently announce (September
14, 2008) that he is a homosexual. Please remember to pray for Ray Boltz.
record, the lyrics of Thank you by Ray Boltz, © Copyright
1988 Gather Music/ASCAP...
I went to heaven
were there with me
upon the streets of gold
the angels singing
someone called your name
and saw this young man
And he was
smiling as he came
said friend you may not know me now
he said but wait
to teach my Sunday School
When I was
week you would say a prayer
class would start
day when you said that prayer
Jesus in my heart
for giving to the Lord
I am a
life that was changed
for giving to the Lord
I am so
glad you gave
another man stood before you
remember the time
missionary came to your church
pictures made you cry
have much money
gave it anyway
the gift you gave
why I'm here today
One by one
Far as the
eyes could see
By your generosity
things that you had done
on the earth
And I know
that up in heaven
supposed to cry
But I am
tears in your eyes
took your hand
stood before the Lord
my child look around you
is your reward
I am so
glad you gave