When was the Last Time You
Counted Your Blessings?

“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our
salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with
music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.
….Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;”
Psalm 95:1-3, 6

Despite the doom and gloom of our economy, we have much to be thankful for. We only have to visit a third world country to appreciate the freedoms and prosperity we enjoy. In spite of our many weaknesses, America is still a great country, and we need to cherish the spirit, faith, and generosity that our forefathers brought to this land.

When the pilgrims landed on the shores of America they gave thanks to God for what they discovered, and they shared their values, traditions, and bounty with the natives. And so it is today—or should be. We share with others the blessings God has given us.

The greatest blessing we freely received and give is our faith. The Apostle Paul, when writing to the Romans, said this, “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” Rom. 10:12-13. And in Genesis we read, “I will bless those who bless you.” Gen. 12:3a.

May we generously pass along the love and peace of God to those around us! And I’m not talking about just our words. We are also called to be generous in our resources…not out of compulsion, but out of delight. In 2 Cor. 9:7 we read: “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

This story reminds us how simply we can impact people, how easily we can pass on God’s love, when we approach life with gratitude and pay attention to the needs of others.

He almost didn’t see the old lady, stranded on the side of the road in the rain. But even in the dim light of the wet day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her.

Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn’t look safe; he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold rain. He knew how she felt. It was that chill that only fear can put in you.

He said, “I’m here to help you, ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson.”

Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt. As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only passing through. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid.

Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Bryan never thought twice about being paid. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way. It just never occurred to him to act any other way.

He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed. Then Bryan added, “And think of me.” He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.

A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her.

A waitress approached with a sweet smile. You’d never know she’d been on her feet the whole day. She offered a dry towel to dry her hair. As she dried herself, the lady noticed the waitress had to be nearly eight months pregnant. She never let the strain and aches change her attitude. She wondered again, for the second time that day, how another stranger, a poor waitress at that, after working all day could be so sweet and giving to her—another complete stranger.

She thought of Bryan.

After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress quickly went to get change for her, but the old lady quickly slipped out the door and was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondering where the lady could be, noticed something written on the napkin. There were tears in her eyes when she read the note: “You don’t owe me anything. I have been there too. Somebody helped me today, and I am returning the favor by helping you.” Under the napkin were four more $100 bills!

Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, and the waitress made it through another day.

That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could that lady have known how much she and her husband needed that sum? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard, but the near $500 gift would make the difference. She knew how worried her husband was as he lay sleeping next to her, She leaned over and gave him a soft kiss, whispering softly, “Everything’s gonna be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson…”

While we don’t give to get something back, it is amazing how God blesses our faithfulness. We don’t have to be rich to share our resources. It could be time listening, a helping hand, a word of encouragement, a meal, a friendly smile, a bouquet of garden flowers, a favorite book, or even time spent playing a game or just visiting. There are so many ways we can share the love of God with others. When we approach each day with a thankful heart, we naturally want to share what we have!

The Power of Truth:
“Do for others as you would like them to do for you.” Luke 6:31

“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” 1 Tim. 6:18

“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Prov. 11:25

Suggestion for Prayer:
Thank God for your blessings. Count them!