CAN GIVING “THANKS” BECOME A SELFISH ENDEAVOR?
READ: Psalm 100
“Count your blessing – name them one by one; count your blessings – see what God hath done.”**
Some years ago I become aware of the need to be more thankful and I resolved to keep a daily list of those things that happened during the course of the day that I valued. Over the years I have found that some entries on the lists became repetitive: for example, a good night’s sleep or a pleasant walk in the morning. However, those of us who have experienced restless nights greatly appreciate the value of a good night’s sleep, but should we give thanks for it on a daily basis? One of my favorite times of the day is my morning stroll – taking in the glories of my surroundings and just being glad to be able to physically do so as there are many who cannot. But should this be an item of thankfulness?
Although the lists helped me to focus on the many blessings in my own life as I re-read them later, a rather disconcerting factor emerged – almost all of them were good things I had experienced or improvements in my lot in life. As I reflected on this I recognized that although it is certainly important and appropriate to give thanks for one’s blessings, might thanksgiving be more meaningful if the blessing were included?
While it is easy to be pleased that our children and friends have nice homes and good health, what about others outside our immediate circle? Should we take joy and express gratefulness for the good fortunes of mere acquaintances? But do not their good fortunes also reflect God’s goodness? However, attempts to tabulate these blessing proved to be difficult for me. I found I could quite easily rejoice in the happy events in my family and friends’ lives but found it difficult to be enthusiastic about the good fortunes of those who did not rank high on my “favorite people” list!
**The chorus from “Count Your Blessings”
However, as I reflected on this dilemma, I discovered a secret: one should not focus on the person but rather the event – in other words attempt to detect the work of our Lord in the lives of others. Focusing on the event assists one in seeing His work in the lives of our neighbors and associates and provides us with additional reasons for giving daily thanks to Him.