November 14th, 2013
The Ordinary, Small Gifts
"We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small...gifts."
These words were written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor, theologian and reformer. Beautiful words. Inspiring words. But they are all the more beautiful and inspiring when you consider the context in which they were written.
When the Nazis rose to power, Bonhoeffer refused to surrender to their meddling in matters of faith. Taking a small band of faithful men, Bonhoeffer established a seminary in the remote German countryside--a secret, illegal seminary where the next generation of church leaders would live and learn together. Despite the ever-present Nazi threat, Bonhoeffer was thankful for all of the "ordinary, small...gifts" that he experienced every day from God's hand.
In all of the hustle and bustle of 21st century living, it's easy for us to lose our focus. We can fix our eyes on our problems and our struggles. We can look at our neighbor's blessings and begin asking why we aren't blessed in the same measure. But in the process we miss the "small, ordinary...gifts" that God has poured out so richly in our lives. Material blessings, yes, but also friends, loved ones, talents, passions, sources of enjoyment, and a hundred other things we could see if we only took the time to look.
The old hymn writer got it right: "Count your blessings, name them one by one." As we enter into this season of Thanksgiving, let me encourage you to follow the hymn writer's advice. Count your blessings. Take stock of the things you can be thankful for--the big things and the small, ordinary things that might easily be overlooked. Then be sure to give thanks to the Source of all your blessings!