We will soon begin our plans for the holidays. Thanksgiving is a few days away. Our plans will include a big meal with friends or a visit family. Someone always prays before the meal. Some prayers will be short, some will be long, but all prayers will thank God for the food…but what else? We sometimes overlook the blessings that are all around us. Some we take for granted and some we expect as normal.
Are we better at “asking” in prayer than we are at “thanking”. A little boy was in Sunday School. When the teacher asked him, “Billy, do you pray every night?” He said “No Maam. Some nights I don’t need nothin” Do we only pray when we need something? What about all the blessings God has already provided?
We might say “It’s hard to be thankful when I’m sick or hurt or grieving. I just don’t feel grateful.” The Apostle Paul writes in Philippians; we should always be thankful. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God” (Philippians 4:4)
Have we become like the ten men Jesus healed of leprosy? You remember the story. (Luke17:11-19). After Jesus healed them, they all ran away: Do we get the blessing God has for us and then run away? Only one man came back to thank Jesus. Paul tells us again in 1 Thessalonians (5:16-18) “Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Should we make giving thanks and counting our blessings a daily habit instead of a once a year meal and a quick prayer?
One thing that is hard for us to learn as Christians is that God gives the test first and then we learn the lesson. God must discipline us sometimes by taking away a blessing for a while. Remember the spankings mom or dad gave us as children? They always said, “this hurts me more than you.” I never understood that until I became a Father and found the spanking does hurt the giver more than the receiver. We never want to see our children hurt. God feels that way too. He loves us so much that he never wants to see us hurt, but that’s the only way some of us will ever learn.
We have all heard the expression, “You never miss the water until the well runs dry” That’s true, we never miss a blessing until it is taken away. The good news is that God’s well of blessings will never run dry. He’s always there to provide just what we need when we need it. Not always when we want it, but when we need it. God’s plan is perfect.
As believers, giving thanks to God separates and makes us different from the world. “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).
God’s riches surround us, David said “my cup overflows.” Surely our cup runs over with God’s blessings each day.