(photo of Larry L. Dickens)
“THY WILL BE DONE”
“I delight to do Thy will, O my God…” (Ps. 40.8)
INTRO.: A song which points out the importance of seeking to do God’s will in our lives is “Thy Will Be Done” (#437 in Hymns for Worship Revised). The text was written by Larry Luther Dickens, who was born on Sept. 4, 1943, in Nashville, TN, and attended David Lipscomb High School. With his wife Mary, whom he married on June 7, 1966, Dickens has three daughters. In 1966 he received the Bachelor of Arts degree in teaching science from David Lipscomb College (now University) in Nashville, TN. Then in 1974 he was awarded the Ph. D. in chemistry by Clemson University in South Carolina. The title of his dissertation was The Iron Complexes of Octaphenyltetraazaporphine, Pthalocyanine, and Meso-tetraphyridylporphine.
In 1975, Dickens did post-doctoral studies at the University of New Orleans in Louisiana, and has published various articles related to his dissertation as well as several articles on physical and thermodynamical properties of silicon and the halosilanes. For 26 years, he taught chemistry at Clemson University and South Carolina State College and science courses in high schools, and served in school administration. Also, for several years he taught chemistry, qualitative analysis, organic chemistry, and physical science at Florida College in Temple Terrace, FL. In addition to his academic work, Dickens has preached for churches in Millersville, TN; Greenville, SC; Sapphire, NC; Gulfport, MS; Nederland and Beaumont, TX; and Tarpon Springs and Tampa, FL.
The tune for this hymn by Dickens was composed by R. J. Stevens (1927-2012). The song was copyrighted in 1986 and first appeared in Hymns for Worship. When he retired from Florida College in 2006, Dickens moved to Mexia, TX, where he preached fulltime with the Shiloh church of Christ and was actively training young men to preach. Since August of 2014, he has lived in College Station, TX, where he currently serves as a gospel preacher with the Southwest church of Christ. Also, he has written several articles in religious papers, such as The Preceptor. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, “Thy Will Be Done” is found only in Hymns for Worship.
It mentions several areas in which we need to make sure that we do God’s will.
I. According to stanza 1, it is God’s will that we praise Him with the songs of our tongues
“Lord, we sing unto Thy glory,
With our songs we sing Thy praise.
May our tongues give reverence to Thee;
May we praise Thee all our days.”
- Because of who God is and what He has done, it should be our desire to sing unto His glory: Col. 3.16
- With such songs we offer the sacrifice of praise which is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name: Heb. 13.15
- In this way, we use our tongues to give reverence to God: Heb. 12.28
II. According to stanza 2, it is God’s will that we come before Him humbly in prayer
“Lord, we pray for Thy rich blessings;
Humbly now we come to Thee.
Help our hearts Thy name to honor;
Thy will done is all our plea.”
- Prayer is our opportunity to receive God’s rich blessings by making known our requests to God: Phil. 4.6
- In order for our prayers to be acceptable to God, we must humble ourselves before Him: Jas. 4.10
- Another prerequisite for acceptable prayer is to have the attitude, “Thy will be done”: Mk. 14.36
III. According to stanza 3, it is God’s will that we dedicate our lives in service to Him
“Lord, we love and worship Thee;
With our lives in service give.
Bless each day unto Thy glory;
Give us hope while here we live.”
- The reason why we should want to dedicate our lives to God is because we love Him with all our hearts: Matt. 22.37-38
- Whatever other activities and responsibilities in life that we may have–job, family, community–we must always remember that we are to serve the Lord first: Col. 3.23-24
- With this determination, we will do all things to the glory of God: 1 Cor. 10.31
IV. According to stanza 4, it is the will of God that we repent of our sins to receive forgiveness
“Lord, we pray for Thy forgiveness;
With our tongues we oft offend.
Bless our lives to magnify Thee;
May we love Thee till the end.”
- While we seek to do God’s will, we sometimes fail, and then we need to repent of our sins and confess them that we might be pardoned by God’s grace: Acts 8.22, 1 Jn. 1.9
- One of the ways that we may often offend and thus need forgiveness is with our tongues: Jas. 3.1-12
- However, if we will seek cleansing of our sins, we can live so that Christ will be magnified in our bodies: Phil. 1.20
CONCL.: The chorus asks help from God in doing His will in all these areas:
“With Thy help we’ll do Thy will;
With Thy blessings we’re not alone.
To Thy name be all the glory;
Bless us Lord, Thy will be done.”
As long as we live upon this earth, our attitude should be such that we continually say to God, “Thy Will Be Done.”