Count your blessings daily, not just once a year

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It’s always something. Last year, supply chain issues caused a turkey shortage. This year bird flu (Avian Influenza) is running rampant and impacting chicken, eggs, and turkeys as our Thanksgiving dinner approaches. Hormel tells us to expect a turkey shortage of at least 20 percent, which will drive up turkey prices.

Apparently, wild birds have been spreading the virus to farm birds, killing more than 45 million this year. So, if you get a turkey, give thanks, even though the cost will more than double over last year.

I heard about a family seated around their table looking at the beautiful golden-brown turkey. Dressing and gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, various vegetables, and casseroles complemented the turkey. From the oldest to the youngest, they went around and expressed their praise.

When they came to the five-year-old, he expressed gratitude for the turkey, anticipating the delicious feast. He gave thanks to his mom for cooking the meal and to his dad for buying the groceries. He thanked the checkout clerk at the store, the farmer who raised it and made it fat, the man who made the feed, and the driver who delivered the turkey to the store. He listed others who contributed to this turkey’s journey from farm to table.

Finally, he said, “Did I leave anybody out?”

His older brother answered, “God!”

The little guy said, “Oh, Yeah, I was about to get to Him.”

The thankful person knows the Source of his or her blessings. We praise God from whom all blessings flow every day, not just once a year, and not as an after-thought. We make counting our blessings a regular exercise, not an exception.

Presbyterian missionary Benjamin Weir was kidnapped in Beirut, Lebanon on May 8, 1984, while walking with his wife. A terrorist group held him for sixteen months – twelve of those months were spent in solitary confinement – along with six other Americans. Before the kidnapping, Weir spent nearly three decades in Lebanon as a missionary and teacher at Near East School of Theology.

In his first interview after his release, reporters asked him how he spent his time and how he dealt with boredom and despair in captivity.

He answered, “Counting my blessings.”

“Blessings?”

“Yes. Some days I got to take a shower. Sometimes there were vegetables in my food. And I could always be thankful for the love of my family.” That’s a great example of thanks-living and of giving thanks in all things.

Thanksgiving Day reminds us to pause and count our blessings. My list of blessings this year includes:

• My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

• The Georgia Bulldogs taking the Tennessee Volunteers down a notch or two

• Another unbelievable Braves season

• Simple pleasures like Blue Bell ice cream when you can find it on sale, bike rides, and my early morning jog

• Celebrating two milestone birthdays in 2022, 95 for my mom and 90 for my mother-in-law

• My church family, McDonough Road Baptist Church

• Releasing my third book, “Marvelous Faith,” and for those who buy it

• Getting to write this column, the papers that run it, and faithful readers

• The fact there’s no cancer in heaven

• The moments I have with my wife, four children, and nine awesome grandchildren

• My 2010 Honda Accord still going strong, though it will win no awards for best looking

• Santa Joe’s fundraising each year to fight pediatric cancer (see www.therealdealsanta.com).

• Homemade chocolate pie, chocolate cake, and anything else chocolate

• The privilege of preaching each Sunday

• Missionaries spreading the Good News all over the world

• No campaign ads bombarding us after the December 6 run-off

• God’s Word, the Bible

• The chicken quesadilla at my favorite Mexican restaurant

• The many people praying for me, including my church family, the prayer ministry of First Baptist, Milledgeville, and Milledgeville’s Hopewell United Methodist Church, who dedicated and presented me a prayer quilt recently. They made sure I am “covered” in prayer.

• English teachers who helped lay a strong foundation that evolved into this writing ministry.

[David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Georgia. Visit them this Sunday at 352 McDonough Road, or online at www.mcdonoughroad.org. Check out Chancey’s other writings and his new book at www.davidchancey.com.]