“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving.” 1 Timothy 4:4
There is a scene in the baseball movie For Love of the Game, where the star pitcher Bill Chapel says, “I’ve lost 134 times.” His love interest says, “You count them?” He responds, “We count everything.” It’s not just in baseball though. We count everything in life. Counting is how we measure success, effectiveness, or even love. From sales calls to test scores to runs batted in, we count everything.
Thanksgiving is often said to be a time to “count your blessings.” You will find that counting your blessings is an untenable exercise. The young boy who pleads that he can’t fall asleep quickly drifts away after heeding his parents’ advice to count sheep. Likewise, we can endeavor to enumerate all the blessings that our gracious God has showered upon us. But, we, too would fall asleep or lose interest long before we would be able to count each gift that we have received from God. For everything that we have has been given by God, physical and spiritual blessings alike.
Christians do more than just count our blessings. We receive God’s gifts with thanksgiving. There is nothing wrong with counting God’s blessings, but do not forget to give Him thanks. Most of St. Paul’s epistles include an extended thanksgiving where Paul identifies (counts) blessings from God for which He gives thanks. These sections of Scripture are overflowing with joy and praise to the God who has given us everything that we need to support this body and life, purchased and won for us by the shedding of the blood of His beloved Son, and called and kept us in the true faith through the working of the Holy Spirit. As you gather with your families and loved ones at churches and homes, remember that the gifts of God are too many to count, but we joyfully receive His gifts with Thanksgiving. Such thanksgiving is not a day affair, but a way of life for those who have received everything by God’s gracious providing.
Prayer – Almighty God, Your mercies are new every morning and You graciously provide for all of needs of body and soul. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may acknowledge Your goodness, give thanks for Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience all our days; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan