Count Your Blessings
November 25, 2019
Count Your Blessings
I live by a little mantra: whatever you don’t turn into praise turns into pride.
According to the Talmud, the Jewish commentary on the Old Testament, “A man embezzles from God when he makes use of this world without uttering a blessing.” In other words, if you enjoy something without giving thanks, it’s as if you have stolen it from God. Anything less than gratitude is grand larceny! If I remember right, “we enter His gates with thanksgiving.” Without the attitude of gratitude, we don’t even get in the front door!
An observant Jew would pronounce one hundred blessings per day. Those blessings would begin with, Baruch Atah Adonai. They would then fill in the blank with a thousand different things. According to rabbinic tradition, “A man should taste nothing before he utters a blessing.” They would offer a blessing before meals, like many of us. But they would also bless God during the meal for the double blessing of different tastes, different smells.
An observant Jew would bless God for a new day, a new article of clothing, a new experience. One of my favorite blessings is zoological: “On seeing an elephant, a tailless ape, or a long-tailed ape, one should say, ‘Blessed be He who makes strange creatures.’” I don’t know why they singled out those particular animals, but I love this approach path to new things. Whenever they experienced something pleasurable, they would praise God. I think what impresses me most is the way Orthodox Judaism nuances blessing. They wouldn’t simply bless God for rainfall. In the words of Rabbi Judah, “We give thanks unto You for every rain drop You caused to fall on us.”
There are 90,921 drops in a gallon of water! They blessed God for each and every one. On that note, there are thirty-seven sextillion chemical reactions happening in the human body at any given time. You are digesting food, regenerating cells, purifying toxins, catalyzing enzymes, producing hormones, and converting stored energy from fat to blood sugar. We owe God thirty-seven sextillion thank yous!
If you don’t count your blessings, you discount them.
Start counting and don’t stop!
Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. NCC also owns and operates Ebenezers Coffeehouse, The Miracle Theatre, and the DC Dream Center. Mark holds a doctor of ministry degree from Regent University and is the New York Times bestselling author of 17 books, including The Circle Maker, Chase the Lion, and Whisper. Mark and his wife, Lora, have three children and live on Capitol Hill.
Mark’s latest book, Double Blessing: How to Get It. How to Give It, calls us to give and receive God ultimate blessings: God with us, God for us, and God in us. Mark Batterson believes the key to radically increasing your faith, joy, and abundance can be found in these three words: Flip the blessing.
In a day and age where the idea of blessing has been reduced to a hashtag (#blessed), Batterson challenges readers to pursue true, God-glorifying blessing and experience an exponential impact by participating in the double blessing.