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Beloved Hymns: Count Your Blessings

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”1


The birds that sing. The food on the table. Family. Friends. Good health. A job that pays the bills. If you take a moment to Count Your Blessings, you will find that the list can go on and on! The author of today’s hymn wanted to teach this very important lesson to young people everywhere upon writing these words.


Johnson Oatman Jr. was born in New Jersey just before the Civil War. He grew up having a close relationship with his father, a man known for having such a powerful voice that some claimed it was the best singing voice in the East. As a boy, Johnson Jr. always wanted to stand right beside his father in church to hear him bellow out the beloved hymns. When Johnson was a young man, he also stood alongside his father when he became a partner in “Johnson Oatman and Son”, his dad's Mercantile business.


At age 19, Johnson joined the Methodist Episcopal Church and was ordained into the ministry. He often preached, but Johnson never became a full-time pastor. He enjoyed the business world and found it paid his bills, which gave him the freedom to minister without cost. In 1892, with his father's voice undoubtedly ringing in his memory, Johnson began writing hymns. He averaged 200 hymns and gospel songs a year– 5000 during the course of his lifetime! Among them was Count Your Blessings, which was published in a song book for young people in 1897. It reflected Johnson’s optimistic faith and has served as a lesson to many ever since.


It is impossible to be thankful and dissatisfied or critical at the same time. Take a moment to count your blessings right now!


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 Has Done.2



Suggested Prayer: Dear Lord, I have so much to be thankful for. If I just take a moment to look around me, the list of things you have blessed me with is very long! Thank you for the good, and not so good, that you have brought into my life. Each moment has been a growing experience for me and I am very thankful! In Jesus’ name, Amen.


  1. James 1:17 (CSB).

  2. “Count Your Blessings”, hymn by Johnson Oatman Jr. (1897).


Today’s Encounter was written by: Veronica B.

All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.