Two years I ago I did a sermon series on the book 1000 Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, by Ann Voskamp. It was her story of going from a life of self-doubt to finding joy in all things.
Ann’s earliest memory was from age four, when her baby sister died in an accident in front of their farmhouse. The tragedy defined her family’s life.
Many years later, someone suggested that she make a list of 1000 things she was thankful for:
Consider the blessings in your life.
Write them down.
Give thanks for them.
She did, and inventorying her blessings became a habit. She began to see the blessing in the simplest, everyday things.
Ann Voskamp came to understand that “Thanksgiving precedes the miracle.”
Jesus gave thanks, and a few loaves and fish were enough to feed 5000.
Jesus gave thanks, and Lazarus came out of the tomb.
And on the night of his betrayal, Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it, and shared it with the disciples, and that preceded the greatest miracle of all, the cross and the empty tomb.
Giving thanks is not a way of conjuring up a miracle, of course.
Giving thanks is a practice of the heart that makes God’s blessings real to us.
This Sunday after worship, our church family is going to do an exercise called Asset Mapping to help us discover some of the gifts with which God has blessed us.
We just might discover gifts we’ve overlooked in ourselves and each other. We just might discover ways to honor God by putting those gifts to use in ways we never imagined.
This is also the week set aside for giving thanks for our gifts, so let’s be sure to do that.
Thanksgiving, after all, precedes the miracle.