HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
October 9, 2006, Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

Have you counted your blessings?

Pastor Lee Hallstrom, Light of Christ Lutheran Church, Delano

In the Hebrew faith, on the evening of the Sabbath (Friday night), after a couple of overflowing glasses of wine to symbolize the riches of God’s blessings in our lives, the husband/father tells his wife and children what a blessing they are to him. This happens every single week!

When is the last time you took a moment to tell the people closest to you what a blessing they are, naming specific examples of how they enrich your life? Can you see how such a practice would force all of us to see the cup as half-full instead of half-empty? Can you see how such a practice would force us to focus on the riches, benefits, gifts, and blessings we have in life instead of wallowing in resentment for what we might lack?

All of our cups overflow. Each of us is blessed beyond measure. Each of our lives is filled with goodness and grace. Sure, we all experience pain, or difficulties or struggles, but we could easily count, and add up the bad things in our lives while coming nowhere close to accounting for all of the good things in our lives. The simple practice of telling those around you how they have blessed you each week is a very good way to live as joyful, thankful people.

At the same time, when we live focused on the blessings and identifying the abundance in our lives, it is much easier to be generous and to use what we have for God’s mission in the world. What we then find is that the generosity feeds the joy and thankfulness, resulting in greater generosity. This cycle perpetuates itself, creating even other fruits such as peace, hope, faith, compassion, mercy, and grace.

My cup overflows. Spend some time pondering this. What are the blessings in your life? Begin to identify them. Tell those closest to you how they have blessed you. Make this a habit that you practice at least once per week. Perhaps it could become a part of your regular Sabbath routine.

You may be interested to know that when David wrote Psalm 23, King Saul was looking to have him killed. He was a wanted man. Yet, he wrote this wonderful poem to maintain his focus on the power of God’s love and to avoid being contaminated by fear.

Let counting your blessings become an ordinary part of your spiritual practice, and be filled up with joy, hope, and peace.

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