19 Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.
20 For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.
How often do we count our blessings, as the old gospel song says:
We in America live in a nation that has been richly blessed. We still have the right to practice our biblical faith. That, in itself, is something millions of people around the world do not have. Persecution of Christians is escalating all around the globe. Are we truly thankful?
I have a friend who has been keeping a Blessing List for many years. Every time she grows discouraged, disheartened, unhappy—she goes to her Blessing List and uses it to thank God . It’s a good idea, especially if you are more inclined to see the negative than the positive
When we learn to focus on our blessings, we won’t spend much time fretting over what we don’t have. God will so fill our hearts abundantly with the joy of the Lord that we will not be disheartened when trouble rears its head to scare us away from trusting the Lord.
Years ago, I did a year of practicum toward my master’s degree in a nursing home. One of my assigned residents was a miserable, lonely old man who never had anything but complaints. He could cite date,time, and surrounding circumstances of everything negative that had ever happened to him, and he was over 85 years old. Every detail of his wrongs was sharply etched into his memory.
No one ever visited him, and he could go on and on about that, too.
One day, dreading the visit, I stepped into his room. The moment he saw me, he started to complain about a nurse who had offended him earlier that day. She was a gentle soul, and she committed the terrible crime of asking him to please not repeat the story he had launched, because he had told her that story the day before. Deeply offended, he roared at her to get out of his blankety blank room and never come back.
And that’s the first thing he said to me that day. I’d had enough. I told him that I wanted him to have something good to tell me the next day. If he didn’t, I was going to leave. Not only that, but I told him I would no longer listen to his complaints about his caregivers, who had reported to me on several occasions that he’d been physically and verbally abusive.
He was angry, and I walked out on his tirade.
The next day, I stepped into his room and he was ready with a loud, angry volley of profanity. I simply turned and left. Same thing the next day, and the next. Finally, on the fourth day, he was quiet. I greeted him and asked for a good, positive story. He told me about the people who had taken him in when was orphaned at age seven. In the telling, he began to cry. He didn’t want to stop talking, and he didn’t want me to continue my rounds with my other residents. I had to tell him he could continue his story the next day.
It changed our relationship. I was even able to share my faith with him because he wanted to hear it, asked me more than once to talk about it.
I don’t know what happened to him. One day I checked in and my supervisor told me he’d been transferred to a different facility. She had no information, either. I’ve always wondered.
I share this lengthy story with you because it emphasizes verse 20. Once this man began to focus on the good in his life, he didn’t have the time or energy to go back to his negative, miserable habits. We have a great and merciful God Who, even in difficult times, has promised never to leave us or forsake us.
We need to be thankful.