“Count your many blessings, name them one by one.”
Remember that old hymn? As the older hymns took a back pew to newer, more contemporary music, it seems that song was relegated to the Thanksgiving season. It’s a great song though. The words are a good reminder to think of all the ways God has blessed us over the past year.
Some bemoan that retailers gloss over Thanksgiving in their frenetic rush to rake in the monetary benefits from holiday shoppers. But one look at Facebook tells me Thanksgiving is alive and well. For the last few years, different friends and I have participated in the 30-day Thanksgiving Challenge. I’ve particularly appreciated the depth and detail of my friends’ gratitude. Their posts haven’t stopped at just food, family, friends, and football—well, maybe not football. Their thankfulness looks at the small stuff and testifies to the last phrase of that old hymn—“See what God has done.”
My friend, Kathy Willis, put a new twist on blessings, Thanksgiving and gratitude this year. She posted this meme from Every Day Spirit.
I love it. It’s one thing to count our blessings. Let’s move to the next level. Let’s BE the blessing that someone else can count as a blessing.
That’s downright biblical. The best way to express thanks to God is to pass on the blessing.
“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. “ – 2 Corinthians 9;11.
King David is an example of the idea of extending a blessing out of the overflow of our own gratitude. When he brought the Ark of the Covenant home to Jerusalem, he threw a huge party of celebration. First, he offered thanksgiving sacrifices to God. Then, as the final act of his celebration, the Bible says, he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the entire crowd of Israelites, both men and women (see 2 Samual6:17-19). I imagine some people were grateful to get that food!
It’s an idea that’s come down through history as well. Giving is part of thanksgiving. Or, as Kathy put it, we become a blessing to someone else. Remember the scene in Little Women, where the four girls are so grateful for all they had, they give their breakfast to a poor family?
As the old saying goes, “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery.” If I really want God to know how grateful I am for what He has done for me, I’ll make it public. I’ll go one step further. I’ll imitate His generosity and be a blessing to someone else.
That reminds me of another old hymn:
MAKE ME A BLESSING
Out in the highways and byways of life,
many are weary and sad;
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife
making the sorrowing glad.
Tell the sweet story of Christ and His love;
Tell of His pow’r to forgive;
Others will trust Him if only you prove
true ev’ry moment you live.
Give as ’twas given to you in your need;
Love as the Master loved you;
Be to the helpless a helper indeed;
Unto your mission be true.
Make me a blessing,
Make me a blessing,
Out of my life may Jesus shine;
Make me a blessing, O savior, I pray,
Make me a blessing to someone today.
So here’s my Thanksgiving challenge to you. I’m upping the ante. This November, find ways to BE a blessing to someone else. Give others a reason to be thankful. Go ahead. As the first verse of the song says, make the sorrowing glad.