Posted by Cathy Catalano

                                                    “Don’t Overlook Your Blessings!”
On occasion I find myself speaking with someone who is telling me about the obstacles they are facing in life. It could be a health scare, a family crisis, or perhaps a perceived injustice. When these conversations occur, I try to see through the dark cloud being described so I can find some sliver of a silver lining to lift up and bring into the conversation. It is a rare situation that is void of any sliver of hope or silver lining in the dark cloud. Sometimes, we forget how blessed we are.

Recently I was blessed to vacation on the beautiful waters in the Virgin Islands. One day during lunch I was sitting in a restaurant along the beach, Judy and the others had walked off, and I couldn’t help but overhear the group sitting at the table next to me. They were not from America, but perhaps from Australia (judging from their accent.) They were talking about the United States and how blessed they felt Americans were. It was a very positive conversation as they spoke of the American economy, the educational system, the job market, and everything else they felt to be wonderful for Americans. They noted that all these blessings had been earned by hard work and sacrifice over the centuries. It was all positive until they began to discuss the newest generation of Americans. I sat there, silently listening, as they spoke about what they saw as a generation that was not the least bit appreciative or cognizant of the blessings they had been given and were currently enjoying. It was interesting to listen to what some tourists from another country thought about America’s blessings and American’s appreciation or lack of appreciation. This is no commentary on the conversation, other than to lift up that even in America it is possible to overlook the blessings we enjoy and the price that was paid to gain them. With July 4th coming next week, I would like to suggest that we all consider how blessed our nation is and we are as Americans. It is often said that “freedom isn’t free” so let’s not overlook all the freedoms we enjoy – freedoms largely won for us by those who have gone before us. Let’s not overlook our blessings nor our freedoms.

We can say the same thing about church and the blessings we enjoy in our church and our faith. I recently came across an interesting review of a book title “quit CHURCH, Because Your Life Would be Better If You Did” written by Chris Sonksen. The premise of the book is not really that we quit church, but that we quit neglecting church and what church really is. Sonksen lifts up the 80/20 rule and says it certainly applies in church. Eighty percent of the work is being done by twenty percent of the people. This is certainly not a new percentage but one that is often true in any and every organization. I haven’t read the book yet, but from the review it seems as if Sonksen is encouraging people to take a look at how they are involved in the life of the church where they belong. His goal could be that church members and others evaluate whether they are living out the passion of their faith and sharing the teaching of their faith, or simply going through the motions of occasionally attending without significantly furthering the mission of why the church exists. Every church and every church staff works hard at helping members get involved. Imagine what life could be like at church if eighty percent of the members were actively engaged in the work of their faith community. The world would be changed! I wonder if some of the difficulty is not again our overlooking the blessings God has bestowed upon us and therefore, we are taking them for granted. This has always been a problem for the people of God. God is good and God’s people overlook His goodness and take God for granted. As we begin to see our blessings from God (chief among them are the blessings of a Savior) and begin to appreciate them, it becomes impossible to take them for granted or overlook them.

I encourage each of us to consider the blessings of where we live and the God whom we worship. Let’s not overlook these blessings we enjoy. It is only as we appreciate them, that we are able to value them and enjoy them. May God bless us with eyes to see, minds to understand, and spirits to appreciate, the blessings that are ours!

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Butler +