There’s an old hymn we used to sing growing up that said, "Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings, see what God has done. Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your many blessings, see what God has done."
We used to sing it all the time in the little Baptist church I grew up in, and like most things in my youth, I didn't fully appreciate the meaning of the song and the truth it contains. Things are different now. I've gotten older. I have a beautiful wife and lovely children, but have also experienced loss of love ones and setbacks. These things have helped me try and put the wise words of the song into practice.
Even though I've learned to count my blessings, I still struggle to always keep those at the forefront of my mind. It seems I always find a way to focus on my problems, the negativity of culture, the evil in the world. I can spend hours discussing the failing teacher pension plan, the slipping morality of culture or the malicious things people do as shown on every nightly news stations. I can discuss our political system and how many problems our government needs to solve, and by the time I'm finished, there is little to be thankful for. Anyone with me on this? Anyone else tend to dwell on the negatives of life, seemingly choking out their thankfulness?
WHAT IS THE REMEDY?
Perhaps one answer is to count the blessings. If we were to actually list the blessings in our lives, it would put our list of complaints to shame. The instruction is to count our blessings, meaning to list out those things in our life that God has provided.
WHY PRACTICE THANKFULNESS?
1. It recognizes God as the giver of all things good. My papaw once told me, "If it's good, it's from God." How true! When we recognize our blessings, we recognize God in our lives.
2. Keeps our attitudes positive when we so naturally want to be negative. Practicing thankfulness helps shift our focus to see the good before the bad.
3. When storms come, practicing thankfulness and counting our blessings will keep hope alive. Sometimes, when the storms come in our lives, they can blot out the goodness. However, striving to still see our blessings keep us realizing God is good.
PUT IT INTO PRACTICE.
Counting our blessings is something we should do, and there are many ways to do it. First, ask God to show you the blessings in your life you may be missing or taking for granted. Consider keeping a journal or notepad on your phone as a constant reminder. Perhaps in your small group this week, challenge each other to list out the blessings you are most thankful for. Practice counting the blessings as a way to acknowledge Gods presence in our lives. Secondly, take some time reading the following three passages: Psalm 40:5, 1st Thessalonians 5:18, and Ephesians 1:3. Next, click here to see the complete lyrics of Count Your Blessings. Finally, as you go throughout the day today, name your blessings one by one. As the old hymn says, it will show you what God has done.