“How precious are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand” (Psalm 139:17).
The Word speaks to us about counting. In promising blessings to Abram the Lord said, “Look now toward heaven and count the stars if you are able to number them” (Gen. 15:5). Psalm 40, speaks of the Lord’s thoughts and says, “...they are more than can be numbered” (40:5). Psalm 139: “If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand.”
A time-honored saying or piece of advice is “Count your blessings.” We might rather say, “Count the Lord’s blessings.” Even on the very external plane, there are more than enough blessings to count. We have so much. We can surprise ourselves if we put a little effort into counting blessings as we start including in the list the people who are dear to us, the loves and virtues the Lord grants to us.
Sometimes a new appreciation of our blessings comes when we see other people less fortunate than ourselves, perhaps due to health or personal difficulty. And it can be occasioned by our own adversities.
A sickness that deprives us for a while occasions gratitude for simple well being to be able to function. The experience of temptation can result in a new way of looking at our lives. A miser counts his money. But we sense that the miser is missing out. Does the person who glories in his talents really count his blessings?
The prophet said, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom. Let not the mighty man glory in his might. Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord exercising loving kindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight, says the Lord” (Jer. 9:23-24).
Imagine making a list of the best blessings of your life and leaving out the Lord’s promises about heaven. “Human life from infancy to old age is nothing else than a progression from the world to heaven, and the last age, which is death, is the transition itself.” What kind of a list of blessings is a list that leaves out the prospect, the goal, to which the Lord is inviting us?
Exodus 20, “I will bless you.” It starts out by saying that when people think about blessings, they immediately start to think of things like money and honors. It says they think about things which are relatively nothing. They call them the blessings.
The passage continues, “That worldly blessing is nothing in comparison with heavenly blessing, which is eternal, the Lord thus teaches in Matthew, `What is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul?’(16:26) But the man who is in worldly and earthly things does not apprehend this saying, for worldly and earthly things suffocate it, and cause him not even to believe that there is an eternal life.
To count things in the internal sense is to “give thought to their quality.” Counting means setting in perspective. When you count you evaluate, and take some things that were at the center of your attention and move them out to the circumference. And you see things which were at the peripheries and bring them to the center.
We ask the Lord to “number our days” that we may apply our hearts to wisdom. “Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works, which you have done; And Your thoughts which are toward us cannot be recounted to You in order. If I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered” (Ps. 40:5).
So my parting plea to you is to count your blessings. You have far more than you remember. Take the time to write them down and I assure you they will be in itself a blessing to you. May God continue to be a blessing to you. Amen!