Count Your Blessings

Published 4:27 pm Friday, August 5, 2016

As a country boy growing up in our little church in north Georgia, one of the old hymns that I recall us singing, that I rarely hear anymore, was entitled “Count Your Blessings.” The writer, Johnson Oatman, Jr.,–who is credited with writing 5000 gospel songs and hymns in his lifetime–, gives good advice in these words included in the song: “Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.” Well stated!

Even on bad days, we all have blessings that we can recall and give God thanks for. In fact, the more that we focus on our blessings, the less we will pay attention to our troubles. Quite often, unless we remind ourselves to purposely pay attention to our blessings, many of them can pass by us unnoticed. Even those things that appear to be small are indeed wonderful blessings from God.

One of my recent experiences of being made aware of how blessed I am by God took place around the supper table. Food and provisions are daily benefits that many of us take for granted–sometimes we even fail to give thanks before partaking of a meal. On that particular occasion, I was thankful for the food, but there was even more blessings surrounding me—my family. Since my family has grown and we are often going in separate directions, it can be challenging for us to gather at a restaurant and share a meal without Nana having to do all the work. But we finally had the opportunity. It was not a fancy place that we went to, but it was nice and made for a memorable evening. (I still remember that the bill for the whole family was on my ticket! But it was a blessing to them, so that meant it was alright.)

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As I listened to the chatter of the grandchildren and watched them, it was a great reminder to me of how God has blessed Gale and me so beautifully. Such times build memories that will live for a life time. (As we traveled home, Addyson informed us that the peas at daycare are not good because “They ain’t got no juice in them!” You never know what will come out of that child’s mouth next!)

In the Book of Ephesians, we find this reminder of God’s blessings upon His people: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3, New International Version).

It is interesting that even though these words were probably penned by the apostle Paul while he was in prison in Rome because of his faith, he could write without hesitation that God’s people are blessed. If he could find reason to count his blessings while under those circumstances, surely we can look around and see the good work of God being poured into our lives.

The last verse of the song “Count Your Blessings” offers good guidance for a healthy outlook on life: “So amid the conflict whether great or small, do not be discouraged God is over all. Count your many blessings angels will attend, help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.”

There is no doubt that life contains a lot of hardships, unfairness, and obstacles of every sort, but we are still blessed.

Take time and count your blessings; you might be surprised at what God has done and is doing in your life.