Gratitude is everything. Gratitude brings joy. When we are thankful we are much more apt to look up to the heavens or look beyond ourselves. Yet, in our politicized world today we are more apt to hear the word “entitled” or “entitlement.” We particularly see this with issues like student loans or healthcare or even housing. “I’m entitled to this,” many claim. Really, it’s everywhere and the moment one starts to think that the government owes them something they are so often left with resentment and unhappiness. Why are so many people angry today? Simply put, they feel entitled. Entitlement robs you of your gratitude and joy and ultimately entitlement is an emptiness that can never be filled.
There is a song recorded by Hank Williams I heard the first time in college that has benefited my own life and helped give me a thankful heart. In part, the title gives the story away: “Thy Burdens are Greater than Mine.” In my opinion, Hank Williams, also known as the “Hillbilly Shakespeare,” is one of the greatest songwriters who ever lived but the lyrics to this song were written by Pee Wee King, another member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Still, Williams made the song infamous and it’s been recorded by other musicians including Porter Wagner and the Stanley Brothers. “Thy Burdens are Greater than Mine” is appropriately known as a Gospel tune.
The song resonated with me because like everyone else I have burdens. I’ve battled some significant health challenges, yet gratitude is always at the forefront. The Apostle Paul’s words, “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” are some of my favorite from Scripture. Below are a portion of the lyrics and a recording of the song from Williams. At the outset, Williams declares the tune “says more than any song I’ve ever heard.” I think that’s pretty accurate:
Tryin’ hard to play the game
Though his leg was very crippled
And he could not speak his name
Yet, he smiled in understandin’
Though life to him had been unkind
And as I watched, I cried in sorrow
Oh! lord his burdens are greater than mine.
I can speak my name aloud
Make my way among the crowd
Yes, his burdens are greater than mine.