Count Your Blessings, November 2021

On my grandmother’s chalkboard is this message she wrote many years ago: Count your age by friends, not years. Count your life by
smiles, not tears. She often wrote on her chalkboard a verse, or an inspiring quote that she had read. It was her way of reminding herself, and also of passing her bits of wisdom on to others. Often my grandfather was the main one to gain insights from her. But, when we visited her there would usually be something new for us to read as well. Her chalkboard message was preserved by my parents on the original chalkboard after her passing. I read it again from time to time. It is a beautiful reminder of the important things of life.

At this season of the year, it is good to remind ourselves of the many things and people who make our lives meaningful. So often we get so busy with routines and duties that we don’t take the time to appreciate what makes life count.

Psalm 90 is attributed to Moses, as the author. It is a beautiful reminder of important things, and what we need to appreciate. It speaks of how short life is, and of how fleeting the years are. Yet it also reminds us of the security we can have in trusting God, and His care.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (Psalm 90. 1-2)

The Psalmist goes on to extol the everlasting love and power of God. “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by..” Then comes the lesson we need to learn:

All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.

10 Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away. 11 If only we knew the power of your anger! Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due. 12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Can we number our days? Do you know how many more you will have? Perhaps due to covid, or other illnesses we realize that the number of days is getting shorter. So how can we gain a heart of wisdom? How can we make the best of the days we have left? Perhaps one suggestion might be to ask yourself, “HOW RICH AM I?” Are you counting friendships, and smiles, and flowers, and the bright experiences of today? Are you blessed with riches that money can never buy? I know I am! Or ask yourself, “HOW CAN I GAIN A HEART OF WISDOM from God? One good way is to practice being thankful, and speaking words of gratitude to God, and to those who make our lives good.

Will you take a moment just now, or as soon as you can, to stop and thank the Lord for His love and blessings? Will you take a moment to thank a friend, or loved one for their wisdom and kindness? My grandmother’s last words of wisdom remind me that I am blessed with wonderful riches. Her chalkboard message comes from a poem which was the message of a Hallmark birthday card. The author is unknown

Count your garden by the flowers, Never by the leaves that fall, Count your days by golden hours, Don’t remember clouds at all; Count your nights by stars, not shadows, Count your life with smiles, not tears, And with joy on this your birthday Count your age by friends, not years.
(I would say, “And with joy at this Thanksgiving” count your age by friends, not years).

God Bless, Pastor Mark