Archives For Gratitude

Count Your Many Blessings

wesblackburn —  November 27, 2013 — 5 Comments

happy-thanksgiving“Count your many blessings, name them one by one; count your many blessings, see what God has done” (from the hymn “Count Your Many Blessings,” lyrics by Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1897).

I absolutely love Thanksgiving. The food. The family. Mostly the pies. I’m a big fan of those. I love how Thanksgiving always feels like it comes at just the right time in the year for me to take a step back, take a little bit of time off, and head back home to see some friends and family that I generally haven’t seen in a little while. For whatever reason, it just feels like a lot of stuff converges for me at this time of year and it’s always my favorite holiday.

This year, I’m struck by something different in the holiday landscape though. I’ve noticed (and probably you, too) that a startlingly large number of stores are actually opening their doors not at midnight for Black Friday, but actually on Thanksgiving Day. I was meeting with a Highland Campus leader a few weeks ago who works in retail, and she shared with me her incredible frustration that corporate America just can’t stand the thought that they wouldn’t be able to squeeze every single possible dime out of people 365 days a year.

I’m starting to think she’s right. I’m not on here to rail against “corporate America,” but I am here to help us undertake the work of examining our hearts. And I think it says something about us and our culture that we can’t take one day to simply sit back and be thankful. Ingratitude is the cancer of the soul. And in our haste to shift our focus to the buying, busy-ness, and consumerism that has become the Christmas season in America, we’ve lost sight of a valuable opportunity to reset ourselves spiritually and focus on what’s important.

On this Thanksgiving Eve, here’s all I’m proposing: Count your blessings. Tomorrow, I want you to take 15 minutes, sit back, and make a list of all that you have in your life to be thankful for. Here’s what I think will happen. In the first 2-3 minutes, you’ll list off all of the generic and general stuff that everyone lists. Then you’ll hit a block and be tempted to quit. Keep going. Keep pressing through. It’s in pressing through the “block” you’ll find some of the greatest, most unexpected sources of gratitude. You’ll find some incredible things to be thankful to God for.gratefulfeature

But beyond that, I’d love to challenge you to go a step farther. I want to challenge you to actually tell people (where applicable) on your list that you’re thankful for them. Pick up the phone and make a call. Send a text. Guys, we aren’t very good at sharing our feelings. Have that awkward conversation. Let people know you are thankful. And in the process, I think God shapes and changes our hearts to be more thankful.

If ingratitude is the cancer of the soul, thankfulness is the antidote. It’s so easy for us to forget this. But on this day of the year, let’s learn the rhythms of gratitude well, and see God cultivate growth in our souls in the process.

…by Randy Parish

I had one of those, “I’m glad I’m not THAT guy” moments when Greg talked about this generation, being one of entitlement.  Then I had to think about all those times I should have or could have shown more gratitude.  If you are married, that is probably the relationship or interaction where you feel the most entitled.  It takes a conscious effort not to take the other person for granted.  We may come to expect the things they do for us and get mad when they don’t go out of their way for us. 

Think of all the small opportunities we have.  Most people do or have shopped at Strack and VanTil.  We expect them to take our groceries out to the car for us.  We feel they owe it to us for shopping there.  But do you show gratitude to the person who loads them into the car or are you searching for your keys and thinking about where you have to go next?  Do you engage in the conversation they try to start on the way out or do you try to keep 10 steps ahead of them

Do you appreciate the person who gets your order right at the restaurant?  Do you thank the person who makes your double espresso cappuccino half calf decaf no foam latte drink?  They should be thanked just for remembering it.

How about the bigger things in life?  Are your prayers to God nothing but requests?  Have you ever prayed and asked for nothing, but just listed all the things you could think of at the moment to be thankful for?  Do we wait until Thanksgiving to reflect on what we are thankful for or is every day thanksgiving day?

How about if you reflected on every interaction you had today with another person?  How did you respond to them?  Did you thank them or show them you were appreciative of them?

Greg used the Dave Ramsey saying when Dave is asked how he is doing.  “Better than I deserve”.  There is another little known company called Chick-fil-A.  Did you know that if you say thank you to one of their employees, they respond with “My pleasure”.  Every time.  They kick the gratitude up a notch showing gratitude to your gratitude.

Make it a habit to be grateful.  It doesn’t cost anything.  One of the few things in life that truly is free.  Not only will the other person feel better, you just might too!