By Michael E. Brooks
“For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed” (Matthew 13:15 NKJV).
My recent travels have taken me into areas of the United States where I have rarely or never been before. Crossing the rolling hills of eastern Oklahoma I was reminded of a segment from the novel “Rafe” by Weldon Hill which was set in this part of the country.
The title character, a boy of about twelve, sat with his younger brother on one of those Oklahoma hills, surveying the surrounding sweep of territory. “What beautiful scenery” he said. His brother immediately sat straighter and exclaimed, “Where is it? I want to see some.”
It is easy to become inured to our surroundings. A few years ago, I marveled as a “Video Bus” load of Nepalis focused upon Hindi music videos as we drove down out of the Himalaya mountains.
They were surrounded by the most majestic and awesome peaks on earth, but preferred to watch old CDs on the television mounted at the front of the bus. What others cross oceans to see, had become commonplace to them.
In the same way, we can be unaware of the abundance of blessings which God has given us. We are so overwhelmed with bad news, complaints, criticisms, and discouragements that we forget all the good which surrounds us.
Every day we receive blessings beyond our ability to count. If we have good health every effortless breath we take is a great blessing. If our eyes are open every flower, bird, or smiling face is of awe inspiring beauty.
Our ears are filled with beautiful music, children’s happy voices, and the gentle sounds of breeze and brook. Yet we often do not notice, or simply take them for granted.
An older preacher was visiting the church where I served some years ago. He sat in my car as I filled the tank with gasoline, then when I got back into the car he pointed out a little old house in front of us.
Naming the architectural style it represented, he went on to point out the intricate trim on the porches and gables. After he finished I had a new appreciation for the style and beauty of what had previously been just another old building.
We often sing, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one”. Sometimes all we need do to develop a proper appreciation for what we see and what we have is to stop and take time to mention those things, to take note of them, and to recognize them for what they truly are.
Let us open our eyes, soften our hearts, and prick our ears that we might see, hear and appreciate all God has done for us.
“Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever, Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).