One of my six grandsons and one of my eight grandchildren (Grandma’s plug) turns ten years old today. Where has the time gone? I can remember the day he was born…or sort of. I was coming from Texas headed to Indiana and my grandson thought he had to make an early appearance, so I wasn’t there the day he arrived, but saw him the next day. What a joy and blessing he has been. He is just one of the many blessings God has showered on me.
As I was thinking about this today it made me stop and think. Texas is leading the state for having the most car deaths with children in the United States. In other words we leave our children in the car during the hot summer and many of them have died from sitting in a hot car. Terrible isn’t it? I am still trying to figure out how you can forget your child is in the backseat. Not a judgmental call on my part because I have not been in their shoes.
I found this statistic on the internet. I know you can’t believe the internet, but just read on. “Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children (a report can include multiple children.” This blog is not about child abuse, but it is about abuse. Let me explain.
I consider my children and my grandchildren as blessings from God. God has blessed me as a mother and a grandmother. I bet most of you feel the same way. So, if we consider our children as blessings from God then what are we doing with the blessings we are receiving from God?
As I thought about this in the earlier part of the day I realized what I do with my blessings reflect on what I think of the blessings God has given me. I was in a class this weekend and I saw this drama (the class I was taking was about happiness). Jesus had three people with him. He wanted to give them each a blessing. He gave the first woman a blessing of an 8 oz coke. She was excited. She loved her blessing. The man was next Jesus gave him a larger can of coke. He is excited with receiving his larger coke can. The woman is beginning to show emotions of distress. She begins to argue with Jesus about the blessing she has received. She thinks she deserves a bigger blessing. Another woman comes running in with a liter of coke and exclaims, “Look at the blessing I got from Jesus; a liter of coke!” Now the first woman is beside herself. The man is fine with what he has received and he goes off. The woman with the largest bottle of coke is happy and goes off. The woman who received the 8 ounce bottle is very upset. She begins to argue and tell God she is so not happy with the little tiny blessing she has received from Him. She wants something bigger and better. She is not happy.Jesus was willing to take the blessing back. We all agreed in class she should appreciate the blessing she has received from Him. She should be happy with what she got. She should enjoy that blessing or be grateful for what she has received before receiving anymore.
I realize in some ways I am a lot like this woman. How many times have I received a blessing and then looked at something someone else has gotten and begin to think my blessing wasn’t much of a blessing after all. I grumble or misuse my blessing because it wasn’t what I really wanted or it wasn’t as great as my neighbor’s or my sisters or brothers.
We are blessed daily with life, but how do we use the blessing of a new day? Do we use it to honor him? Do we try to cram as much in it as we can? Do we abuse the day doing foolish things? If (and I am including me) we are feeling truly blessed to have life for another day I am thinking we should thank God and honor Him and appreciate His blessing and use it wisely.
I am blessed with more friends than I can list. I can’t begin to name all of the friends God has blessed me with. Once again what do I do with the blessing of friendship He has given me? Do I abuse those friends in a way that is not appropriate? Do I take from my friends and never give back? Am I their friend in front of them and talk about them or bring them down behind their back? How I treat my friends will tell God whether or not I feel blessed in having them as my friends. I think the better friend we are the more friends God will bless us with.
I am blessed with a husband that works and makes money. To have a husband that works and provide for me is a blessing. Do I treat him and his job as a blessing? Or do I constantly bring down his business and drag his company through the mud? Do I lift him up or bring him down? So many of my friends are in the stage of life where they becoming widowed. They have lost their blessing. When I hear them talk I know I should be appreciative of the blessings a husband brings.
There are so many women who can’t have children yet so many disregard their children as nothing more than problems or nuisances. Many parents are disappointed because their children are not what they expected; they wanted a son and got a daughter. They wanted a child with brains and they got a slow learner. I can remember often times as a child my mom would say, “Learn to appreciate what you have and maybe more will be given to you.”
His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ (Matthew 25:21) I am realizing that is a key to receiving blessings from God. He gives me a few blessings; he sees what I do and how I treat those blessings and then He responds. If I appreciate what He has given me I will get more if that’s His will for my life.
I also realize how I treat my blessings is a reflection on what I think of God. If I truly love God and want to follow in His ways then for me a blessing is more of an act of kindness on His part. I don’t follow God and obey Him just to see what kind of blessings He gives me, or how big of a blessing He gives me. I follow God because I love Him and want to be like Him. When He showers me with blessings that is just what they are blessings. Each blessing I receive is truly a gift from God and I need to treat it as such. If my husband blesses me with a big huge carat diamond ring, don’t you think I am going to cherish it? You don’t actually think I am going to take it off and just lay it around to get lost; I am certainly not going to abuse it. Unfortunately, that is what many of us do with children, friendships, life, money and material things God has blessed us with. We too many times abuse those things God has blessed us with. Even our very own lives are a blessing from God, but too many times we even abuse our own lives.
Here’s a challenge for you. Write down your blessings on a piece of paper in one column. Across from your blessings write how you have appreciated your blessings. As you look at your list have there been times or things in your life that you have abused? Are there children, friendships, finances, or days that you have abused them in a way that would disappoint God? If you were one of the three in the drama which one would you be? The woman who was upset with her blessing or the one who truly appreciated his blessing?
“Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, and be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, Here’s what you do: Say nothing evil or hurtful; Snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you’re worth. God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to what he’s asked; But he turns his back on those who do evil things.” 1 Peter 3:8-12
Maybe it’s time I start appreciating my blessings a little more and treating them as if I truly believe they are a gift from God. What about you?
Dear God: Thank you for the blessings I have received. Help me to appreciate each one and think of them not as blessings, but as gifts from you. May I never abuse those things or take them for granted. Remind me it’s not about being blessed; it’s about being a blessing to others. May I be a blessing in your eyes. Amen.