Overlooked Blessings November 24 2019

(Part of BCF’S blog series: “Society, Selflessness, and the Scriptures")

One of my more vivid Christmas memories growing up in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley was the time that our sewer line got blocked by tree roots, just a couple of weeks before Christmas. I know what you’re thinking – that’s a very odd Christmas memory. But the event had a way of throwing every household activity into chaos – no toilet, no showers, no clean dishes, no ability to do laundry.

Having had some problems with the sewer flow before, the family agreed that getting the sewer line fully replaced would be a great family Christmas gift and would solve the problem for a long time. We joke about it now, but never did a shower feel so good as when the plumbing was back in service. What had been literally “out of sight, out of mind” was so much more appreciated when we had experienced life without it.

There are many things in life like that, especially in the more developed countries where we have come to enjoy a wide range of conveniences. For our friends living and ministering in places like South Sudan, Rwanda, Malawi, and Uganda, the blessings we tend to overlook are veritable treasures to them: basic things like consistently clean water, reliable electricity, sanitary systems, medical care, and steady food supplies. In many other countries, even having access to a Bible is rare, and we tend to take the availability of God’s written word for granted.

A few years ago, I came across a simple little Thanksgiving game that perhaps some of you have played before. It follows the Thanksgiving tradition of sharing with others about things we are thankful for, but with a twist. You go around the table or room with each person quickly mentioning something (or someone) they are thankful for, and then you keep going around and around until you run out of things or people to mention (or run out of time).

The “Game of Thanks” is a great game, because it forces us to think more deeply about the many blessings we have to be thankful for, particularly ones we tend to overlook, and even when we are going through difficult times. It is a good one for the children and grandchildren because they will typically start looking around to find other things they can bring up. It is a good, practical application of 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus) and Philippians 1:3 (I thank my God in all my remembrance of you).

The game will sometimes help bring people to our minds as well – people we have not thought about in a while. In his letters to the churches, Paul frequently went through lists of people to greet and thank. In Romans 16, he lists no fewer than 28 specific individuals who had encouraged him in the ministry. Of Prisca and Aquila he says:

Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but all the churches of the Gentiles. (Romans 16:3-4)

So as we celebrate Thanksgiving this week in the U.S., we at BCF want to express how deeply we appreciate your participation in the ministry with us. You have no idea how just a phone inquiry, a book order, a testimony from you, or a report from your local ministry means to us as we together seek to strengthen the Body of Christ through His Word.

If you have questions about this or other blog posts, please e-mail blog@bcfministries.org. You may also subscribe to the blog by emailing that address and put “Subscribe to blog” in the subject line. If you need general information about BCF, you can access our home page at www.bcfministries.org

Steve Smith