Count your blessings.

January 16, 2014.

“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”
(James 1:16-18)

We often sing a song entitled “Count your many Blessings,” written about the gracious gifts that have been given to us from the Father. These gifts come in different forms for different people. Some people are blessed with good friends, some with money, others with a strong family and still others with various combinations of these. Blessings from above, in and of themselves, are not evil. In fact, James, as cited above, calls them “good.” However, they can lead you into the temptations of pride and greed.

Often, I believe our blessings go unnoticed (especially in America). Sometimes I cannot see what the Father has given to me because I am too blinded by what he hasn’t. This can begin a vicious cycle of wanting more and more. The wise King Solomon warns about this in Ecclesiastes (my favorite book):

“He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.”
(Ecc. 5:10-12)

Solomon was both one of the wisest and richest person who ever lived. Sometimes when we hear someone tell us not to love money we think “Well, that’s just because you don’t have money and are jealous or are trying to find a way to make yourself feel comforted.” This is not the case with King Solomon; he was filthy rich. He writes in an earlier chapter that anything his eye desired he did not withhold it from himself. And I mean everything. Food, music, landscaping, gold, women- he had it all. What he finds out, however, is that all the riches in the world will never satisfy the man who does not find his satisfaction in God.

“There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? For to the one who pleases him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but to the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God.”
(Ecc. 2:24-26)

One of the reasons we have so much of a problem with wanting more, in my opinion at least, is because we don’t count the  blessings we already have been given. If you would like to, I would challenge you to make a list today of all the good things that you have been blessed with, whether material or just good things that have happened to you. I think making a tangible list that we can see might help us to recognize and acknowledge, or in other words, Count our  Blessings. I will share a portion of my list here. I hope you do the same, and then thank God for each of the items on your list.

Suggested Daily Reading: Ecclesiastes 1, 2 , 5, 9 ,12.

My Blessings:
1. Jesus Christ has given me, and all who will follow him, salvation.
2. I have been given another day of life.
3. I have been blessed with an intellectual mind.
4. I live in America, have a roof over my head and a car.
5. I am able to attend the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
6. I have the opportunity to serve as a student director at the Christian Student Center.
7. I have a loving family, both blood and church (one in the same for my immediate family).
7. I was able to sleep in a comfortable bed last night.
9. I have a working cell phone.
10. I have some of the best friends in the world.

I could go on (and I should privately), but I don’t want this to become bragging. My intention is simply to alert myself to the blessings I have been given and look to my Father to thank him for them.

God bless you.

-Walter

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