We often sing a song at church, “Count Your Blessings”. It’s a song about how we should think positively even when times are hard, and focus on the blessings that we’ve been given. This is a wonderful thought and one that is encouraged all throughout the Bible, especially in the Psalms. Sometimes I wonder if we are missing something in all of this “counting” of our blessings, though. What is our true motive when we look at our lives and think of all of the wonderful gifts we’ve been given? Is it to motivate us to get busy doing for others and for God in appreciation of all that he has given us? Or is it just to make ourselves feel good, or even pat ourselves on the back a little bit?
When we have been blessed with good families, jobs, homes, cars, etc., this is not a testament to our own goodness, but a responsibility that we have been given. We know that we are nothing of ourselves and “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). In this country, we have been given so much and it is easy to forget how rich we truly are in comparison to the majority of the world. But in those moments when our eyes are opened to the hardships faced by so many, we should do more than just say, “Thank God that’s not me”! We should instead say, “Thank God I have been given so much; now what can I share with this person?” This can be said not just about money or possessions, but also our time, energy and love. Our lives are not truly our own, but everything has been lent to us for a season and the day is coming when God will ask for an account (Matthew 25:14-30). Are we going to be that servant who buried his lord’s money out of fear of losing it?
There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof for their hurt. But those riches perish by evil travail: and he begetteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand. As he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.” Ecclesiastes 5:13-15
 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say unto my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” Luke 12:16-21
This reminds me of the part in “A Christmas Carol” when Scrooge has his meeting with the ghost of his friend, Marley. Ghost Marley is in agony for the waste that he made of his life in greed, and Scrooge tries to justify that by stating that Marley was a “good man of business.” The reply of the ghost is hauntingly beautiful,
“‘Business!’ cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were all my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!’”
          Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol”
I find it sad that our current cultural tendency is to remember these things in the month of December, and talk about the “Spirit of Christmas”, and then forget about it for the remaining 11 months of the year. What if instead of the Spirit of Christmas, we all sought out the Spirit of CHRIST, and sought to keep that Spirit all year long. The Spirit of counting our blessings, yes, but not stopping there! After we count our blessings, what are we doing with them to bring glory to Christ? That is the truly important thing.
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Romans 8:9