Can You Name Your Blessings?
Have you received any blessings lately? This week on Thankful Thursday we continue our look into the five ways to be thankful, usingÂ Hebrews 12:28Â as the central verse. Today, we look to being thankful to God, for the blessings we receive. How many blessings can you name in 15 seconds?
I was able to write 6, but I must admit that earlier this week, as I began to think about this writing, I struggled with seeing blessings. Sometimes it just seems difficult to be grateful and find the blessings, when life appears to be in the hopper. Maybe the key is finding a different way to look at things.Â
There’s a story about a Scottish minister, Alexander Whyte, who often gave uplifting prayers in the pulpit. He always found something in which to be grateful. One Sunday morning the weather was so gloomy that the congregation murmured to themselves in wonder, on what the preacher could find to be grateful for on such a horrible day of weather. Much to their surprise though, Whyte began by praying, ”We thank Thee, O God, that it is not always like this outside.” (Our Daily Bread Ministries, 1989)
Looking at things differently or perhaps experiencing them differently is the way to see the blessings. Like the case of the man in Budapest that goes to the rabbi and complains, ”Life is unbearable. There are nine of us living in one room. What can I do?”
The rabbi answers, ”Take your goat into the room with you.” The man appearedÂ shocked and couldn’t imagine how this was going to make life better, but the rabbi insisted that the man do what he said and come back in a week.
The week passes and the man comes to the rabbi again, but this time he is in more anguish than before. ”We can’t stand it,” he tells the rabbi. ”The goat is filthy.” The rabbi then tells him, ”Go home and let the goat out. And then come back in another week.”
A week passes and the man returned beaming with joy. He exclaimed as he met the rabbi, ”Life is beautiful.” We enjoy every minute of it now that there’s no goat and just the nine of us.”Â (Mikes, 1977)
Two funny stories and two different ways of looking at life in order to see the blessings you have. It’s pretty easy to praise God when the goodness of blessings abounds, but it isn’t always as easy to contrast the goodness in the blessings with the hardness that is sometimes experienced in life. Viewing the lessons or experiences of life from a different perspective can force the realization that even under the weight of the mess there lays the goodness of blessings that God provides; we just have to see it from a different viewpoint.
Such as the perspective of the Thanksgiving of 1928; it was in the dark times of the Great Depression that a group of ministers met in the Northeast near the Boston School of Theology, to discuss how they should conduct their Thanksgiving Services. Things were really bad during this time, as the bread lines were long, the stock market to devastation, and the emotions of the country were dim. The ministers thought they should only briefly touch on the subject of Thanksgiving. They felt the people would be unable to relate to being thankful for their blessings, when there seemed to be none. However, Dr. William L. Stiger, a pastor of a large congregation in the city stood against the group. He suggested that this was not the time to just give a mere mention to Thanksgiving. In fact, he felt just the opposite. This was the time for all of the nation to get matters in perspective and thank God for blessings that are always present, but perhaps seemed compressed because of the intense hardship.
Perspective, it is all in how you look at things and by looking at life from a different viewpoint, the blessings can be more readily seen. Perhaps the strongest moments of thankfulness are not found when life is full of abundance, but when life seems the most difficult. Maybe it is not about what the blessings you receive are; but the gratitude to God in the blessing itself. Click To Tweet
Is your life seemingly full of problems and hardship? Are you questioning what you have to be thankful for? I thought mine was when I began to think about blessings, but as I thought back through things and happened to reread some writings that I wrote over a year ago, I feel differently. I realized that I do indeed have a lot to be thankful for in the blessings department. Last year at this time, I had different issues that were looking beyond bleak, but God blessed me with them becoming resolved; I no longer have to face those. Prayer journals can really help you stop and realize, by putting pen to paper, what blessings through prayer you do have and how your life changes over time.
Gratitude journals are even better at just helping create pure thanksgiving as they truly make you acknowledge the blessings you have in that moment. Did you time yourself earlier when I asked you how many blessings you could name in 15 seconds?Â I challenge you now, to take a few minutes and not just name your blessings, but actually write them down on paper. As you review your blessings consider your gratitude meter and watch it soar.
It is said that we must learn to be thankful or we will become bitter. We must learn to be thankful or we will become discouraged.Â We must learn to be thankful or we will grow prideful and arrogant being self-satisfied.
We must count our blessings and develop hearts full of gratitude. For we do need to learn to be full of thanksgiving and show gratitude to the God of our eternity.
Won’t you join me in counting your blessings?
Love in Christ,
Questioning your Blessings?
The blessings of God;
An acceptance that can never be questioned. (Ephesians 1:6).
An inheritance that can never be lost (I Peter 1:3-5).
A deliverance that can never be excelled (2 Corinthians l:10).
A grace that can never be limited (2 Corinthians 12:9).
A hope that can never be disappointed. (Hebrews 6:18, 19).
A bounty that can never be withdrawn. (I Colossians 3:21-23).
A joy that need never be diminished (John 15:11).
A nearness to God that can never be reversed (Ephesians 2:13).
A peace that can never be disturbed (John 14:27).
A righteousness that can never be tarnished (2 Corinthians 5:21).
A salvation that can never be canceled (Hebrews 5:9).
A little Extra
Credits Mikes, G. (1977). How to be Decadent. London: AndrÃ© Deutsche. Our Daily Bread Ministries. (1989, August 26). Our Daily Bread. Our Daily Bread.
What blessings has God, given you? How are you thankful for them?
Join us in discussion.