Counting Your Blessings
What if you gave someone a gift, and they neglected to thank you for it – would you be likely to give them another? Life is the same way. In order to attract more of the blessings that life has to offer, you must truly appreciate what you already have.
“Life is not all moonlight and canoes!” That is one of my husband’s favorite quotes. And it’s not because he dwells on the heartaches that seem to greet us so often. No, he is a realist and someone who feels that it is always best to look at all of life’s challenges straight in the eye. You see, he sees the hard times as merely a stepping stone to life’s joys. And he would be right, because it is our heartaches that form the bricks that build our character and it is the joys and blessings that provide the mortar that gives the bricks of our character its strength!
More of us need to take a lesson from my husband. Instead of placing so much emphasis on the things that HAVE GONE WRONG today or worrying about things that MIGHT GO WRONG tomorrow, how about focusing on everything that HAS GONE RIGHT today and with good planning on your part (and a good word to God), WILL GO RIGHT tomorrow!
Now most adults I know have a hard time understanding the need to embrace their blessings in view of the challenging times in which we live. And if it is hard for adults, imagine how difficult it is for children which is why It is especially important that we share embracing gratitude with our little ones. After all, don’t we hope all the best for them as they grow? Well, the start to this is that they are able to recognize and appreciate their blessings in the here and now. But it must be tempered with some hard reality. You see, too many of our young people expect that blessings are their due. And unless we set them straight, they will never be prepared to deal with the hard times when they do come!
I don’t know how many of you are familiar with a man by the name of Rabbi Shmuel “Shmuley” Boteach, who is an American Orthodox rabbi, author, TV host and public speaker. Rabbi “Shmuley” is the man responsible for a show that aired in 2006 on TLC (The Learning Channel) here in the United States called “Shalom In The Home”. And while there are many, many things to be thankful for, a few of the biggies are these pearls that he has shared with us:
- Family: “They love us when we’re not doing anything,” Rabbi Shmuley says. “They don’t love us because we’re rich or famous—they just love us.”
- Health: This is something many people take for granted, and it often goes unappreciated until a health crisis comes along, he says.
- Fulfillment: “As Americans, we often think that we don’t have enough,” Rabbi Shmuley says. “We should be thankful for everything we have, especially the food on our plates when hunger is an issue all over the world.”
- Friends: These people love you without being related to you and choose to love you, which makes you feel unique, he says.
- Employment: “If we are lucky enough to have jobs that make us feel like we’re making an impact, we should be incredibly thankful.”
- God: “We thank God for our lives, our health and all our blessings,” he says.
I urge you all to remember one thing that is especially important when thinking about our blessings. It is the gratitude for our faith that is God’s greatest delight, especially when we take the time to tell Him so! All too often we mechanically thank Him before we partake of a meal, but the thing we must remember is that grace is not just a prayer intoned before we dine. Grace is a way of living and should be asked before we go to work, or before we write a blog post, or before we walk to the mailbox, or before we hug someone we love. Yes, grace is an essential for our very living, and this is why I will always remember something written by German theologian, Eckhart von Hochheim (commonly known as Meister Eckhart). “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.”
“But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
James 1:25 NIV
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