Let me ask you a question.” Preachers invariably get a bit hesitant when someone approaches them and makes that inquiry. They aren’t sure if the question is a “gotcha,” a bit of “bible trivia” the person has come across, a theological or doctrinal issue, or a personal matter they would like to talk about. I read of one such pastor who was approached with that inquiry, and when he cautiously nodded yes, the man surprised him by asking a thought provoking question, “I can understand asking God to bless me, but how can I bless God? The Bible says, ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul.’ How can I bless Him?

The pastor thought for a few moments and then asked the man, “Do you have any children?” The man replied that he had two children. The pastor then asked how old they were, and the man replied, “I have a son that is seven and a girl that is five.” He then asked, “At Christmastime, do they ever give you a Christmas present?” The man replied, “Yes, of course they do.” The pastor pressed a bit further, “Do you know what they are going to give you?” The man replied, “No, I don’t.” The pastor then asked, “Who picks out your gift?” He replied, “They do, with their mother’s help.” Then the pastor smiled and asked, “Who pays for the gift?” The man smiled back and replied, “I do.”

The pastor continued, “Exactly, you pay for the Christmas presents your children give you. You’re glad that they talk about it and have secrets with their mother. You’re excited that they are going to surprise daddy on Christmas day with a blessing they got just for you. So it is when we bless the Lord. With the blessings He puts in our lives, we offer blessings back to Him, acknowledging to the world our love for Him and declaring that there is nothing we have or hope to be that does not come from Him.” The man smiled, thanked the pastor, and went on his way. The pastor smiled, looked up to heaven, and said, “Thank you, Lord.”

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” (Psalm 103:2-5)

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this month, take the time to thank God for his blessings. And then be a blessing as you give back to Him and to others in His name.

With a thankful heart,

Pastor Bill