We may remember to count our blessings as Thanksgiving Day approaches, but the rest of the time we often tend to take God’s goodness for granted. We don’t do it deliberately. Yet, we somehow fall into the habit of thinking we “have it coming” and that God owes it to us as His children.
Counting our blessings is something only the heathen or borderline believer needs to do. We already know that God gave us all things and to count them is just a dull and uninteresting ritual. But let us take a look at the ordinary everyday things that comprise our lives and realize anew that it is, after all, by the grace of God that we have these things.
The Gift of Our Five Senses
One of the gifts we often take for granted is the gift of our five senses. Have you ever had an arm or foot “go to sleep?” Perhaps you’ve had a moment or more of partial paralysis. As a child, did you ever wonder what it would be like not to feel the grass tickling your toes or the sun warming your arms? How would you handle seeing your child or grandchild hug you and not be able to feel their arms encircling your neck?
What if you could not hear the birds calling the greeting to the rising sun of the gentle rustle of falling leaves or the creaking tree branches coated by the early January ice storm?
What would like be like without the fragrance of the blossoming orchards in the spring, the pungent odor of burning leaves or the crisp clean smell after the first winter snow?
Can you imagine not be able to see the glorious circus of fall, the light of Christmas wonder in a child’s eyes, the intricacies of a snowflake, the delicate coloring of the budding trees in the springtime?
What if everything you ate tasted like cardboard—or like nothing at all?
Thank God for your five senses. Celebrate each sight, sound, odor, taste and touch. Relish them and enjoy them as if tomorrow they might be taken from you. With COVID, we know this is a possible scenario. The psalmist declared, “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Thank God for Your Emotions
While thanking God for your senses, praise Him for your emotions as well. Imagine not being able to feel anger or ecstasy, joy or sorrow. What if you went through life and an unfeeling zombie, incapable of knowing success or failure, victory or defeat, guilt or forgiveness? Thank God you can feel and express your feelings. Celebrate tears and laughter, tranquility and frustration, serenity and anger, joy and grief.
Thank God for Love
As you count your blessings, count high on that list the love of family and friends. To live is to love. To love is to be fully alive. Science and medicine have both proved that love and acceptance are vital to life. We can EXIST without love. But without the concerned caring of at least one other person in our lives, we become self-centered, uncaring robot-like individuals.
Thank God for Security from Natural Disasters
During this season of the year, as we thank God for the bounty of the harvest, we can be grateful that we have not had to deal with the horrific floods that inundated parts of the country this spring and fall. We have faced unending wildfires and subsequent mudslides. In spite of winds and tornadoes, we can thank God that none of us were uninjured by any storm. We can enjoy the beauty of a spectacular fall season, glory in the hanging seasons of southern Michigan and be grateful that we did not have to deal with an overwhelming abundance of snow like many did this past winter.
Thank God for Our Church
Here at Maple, we are worshiping in a church that has been a landmark in this community for 133 years! Some of our ancestors were grateful for the right and opportunity to worship in a free land. And each Sunday, they gathered together in this place to work and be strengthened by the faith and fellowship of their friends—to count their blessings. As you count your blessings today, count this congregation and it founders, your friends who are worshiping with you this morning and those who will come to worship after you and I are gone.
Thank God for a Free Nation
Of course, this church could not have existed over a century if this was not a free nation, founded by those who believed in the freedom of religion. The man and women who founded these United States established this is “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”
In America, we have the right to worship when, where, and AS we choose. Unlike many socialist and communist countries, we can gather here as often as we want, sing as loud as we want and even say “AMEN!” if we want to. We can worship here or in our homes, pray in a restaurant or in the church, sing hymns on Sunday morning or Tuesday night.
Blessed is the nation w hose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen as His heritage.
Indeed, as a nation, we have been blessed. As we count our blessings, we must count this free land in which we live and those who sacrificed to keep it free.
Thank God for Your Salvation
Among the blessing we should be counting is our salvation. Thank God that His forgiveness is something we cannot earn. As Paul reminded the Romans, “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal. Life in Christ.” We can’t earn His forgiveness. We can’t be “good enough” to deserve His love, forgiveness and eternal life. If God’s love was based on our goodness or badness, few of us would be worthy to receive ANYTHING! All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We receive from God not what we deserve but what His love is willing to give. Thank God we receive His favor and not our due!
Thank God for Sending Jesus
How often, when we are counting our blessings, so we forget to thank God for this! The Son of God left all His divinity and glory behind in order to come to this earth and be born under the humblest and most demeaning of conditions. He was born of a peasant woman in a stable four days journey from the town where He would be raised, educated and trained as the son of a small-town carpenter. The Son of God lived a while among us to show us how to live, teach us about God and love and the power of faith. Then He went to the cross and underwent the cruelest, most torturing form of death ever devised by mankind in order to show us how much God loves us!
But it didn’t end there! Jesus rose from the dead in order to give us hope and faith. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins…If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep…Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanks be to God for…
- All the blessing He bestows on us
- Jesus and His redemption-purchasing death on the cross
- His forgiveness and salvation
- This free nation where this congregation could be formed and could worship without interference for nearly 135 years
- The beauty of the changing seasons
- Love of family and friends and all the emotions we can feel and express
- Our five senses that allow us to live in and enjoy this world which He has given us
Count your blessings. Not only the obvious ones of life and health and daily food, but the blessing we too often take for granted as well. Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not ALL His benefits.