A couple of weeks ago I had to make a trip to Chapin, South Carolina (just north of Columbia), for the national church. Since it was on the way, my wife was able to spend the weekend with her sister in Wake Forrest, North Carolina. And from there I had a choice. I could either follow the national super highway 95 or lumber along on Route 1. Since time was on my side, I decided to follow Route 1 and it was an interesting adventure.
As I ventured through the hills and valleys of the Carolina’s. I came across things that I never knew were there. I passed the exit to Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base. As I rounded a curb, I encountered the famed Rockingham International Speed Way. At the state line I saw a historical marker which reminds that William Tecumseh Sherman, the famous Union Civil War General, came through this area on his famous “March to the Sea.” I learned that Dizzy Gillespie, the great trumpeter and the inventor of modern jazz was the favorite son of Cheraw, South Carolina. And it was in Camden, SC. where there was a great Revolutionary War victory for the British. Indeed, it was quite a drive!
I saw things that I’ve never encountered before. But how many times in life do we fail to recognize important things in our own midst? How frequently do we recognize the presence and blessings of God? There is no question that we are blessed people. The Lord has blessed us with food, clothing, transportation, places to live, work environment, climate and relationships. I know that it would be easy for us to exclaim, “Hey, I’ve made all these things happen.” “I’m the captain of my own destiny.” The problems begin when we start to take credit for all that God continually does for us. Us humans have an unfortunate habit of exalting ourselves and taking the Almighty for granted. But Holy Scripture makes it clear where the blessings truly originate. In James 1:17 Jesus’ brother writes, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow do to change.” However, its just not the physical blessings that we’re being showered with. In Psalm 16:11 we have the blessing of a relationship with God himself as King David writes, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” And in Ephesians 1:3 we’re reminded by Paul that the greatest spiritual blessings come through Jesus and his promise of life everlasting as he writes, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”
The blessings of the Lord are real. But can we truly see them in our daily living? The other day I was fervently looking for my reading glasses. I checked the kitchen table. I checked the counter. I checked the credenza. When I asked my wife if she had seen them, she asked me if I had checked the hair on my head, because that’s where the glasses were located. We may not always experience Jesus and his blessings, but they are there. May we pray for the Holy Spirit to literally open our eyes, so we can see what Christ is doing in our lives. Because the more we encounter the blessings, the more we will be transformed, and the more we can share God’s goodness with others.
Last week, as I was driving down a country road outside of Remington, I noticed a good, looking soy bean field. But there was one thing that stuck out about these plantings. There we’re errant stocks of corn strewn throughout the field. Now, spending all those years with my Grandpa Hales on the farm, I quickly learned that he disliked when a field wasn’t “clean.” In fact, he always had a hoe in the back of his pick-up and would literally stop to eradicate these “weeds” from his crop. It’s amazing what you recognize.
And Jesus is hoping that we will recognize him, and the multiple blessings which he provides into our lives.