Like soldiers lined up for battle, the books stack on our ever increasing shelves. A favorite college professor said that “books are your tools”. My husband, he reads and his tools are preparing him. They lead him into deeper thought and belief so he will be ready for action.
And there’s another kind of tool we collect- the ones that come after hard lessons learned- life tools. One such tool in my tool belt is that of the practice of thanksgiving. Perhaps simple and trite. Children sing songs of such things. Even I sing along with Bing Crosby every year in “White Christmas” about counting your blessings. But really this counting is not mystical, it’s true and biblical.
And as I learned this lesson a while back, I realized that the command Paul gave- in all things to give thanks- was possible. Counting was not a new idea invented by man to puff us up or to feel better about ourselves. Instead it is a biblical command proven to be effective. I can count my blessings no matter the circumstance. And when disappointment strikes right at the core of who I am and it threatens to engulf my confidence and causes me to question who I am, I reach for that tool and go to battle. And it soothes the soul and binds the wound.
It teaches me to make much of Him and little of myself. True thanksgiving does this. It sets my mind on things above and on to the Giver of all good things. You see, I am undeserving in the first place. Yet, if God gave up His Son for me, I can trust him to also give me everything I need for my good and His glory? (Rom. 8:32) And since I have learned the practice of giving thanks, I just pull that tool out of my tool belt right when I need it. It’s always there, ready to be used. I don’t have to work at it anymore. It has become second nature. And oh what that has changed in my life.
I remember the beauty of the word thanksgiving– eucharisteo– that old Greek word that enfolds the words grace and joy. So when I choose to give thanks even with a smarting pride or self doubt, the grace of my Father and the joy of my salvation engulf my heart. I can’t help but wonder at His goodness. For I see it all around- even in the midst of hard things. I continue to see that all is grace. And I count again……