Being intentional about mining the source of our blessings helps us to stop practicing anonymous gratitude. This summer I had an experience that filled me with wonder and taught me a powerful lesson.
Passing through Kentucky on our way home from a family reunion outside of St. Louis, we stopped to tour the Louisville Slugger Museum. Now, I love baseball and I get a little thrill whenever the players recognize God with a small sign of the cross or finger pointed upward after a diving catch or launching a ball into the stands. It is not a long stretch to associate the skill and agility players posses to their Creator. And boy, have some of them been G-R-E-A-T… It was almost a solemn event to touch a bat used by Babe Ruth.
The Blessing of Baseball
But what really undid me was the very first station of the bat making factory tour. The guide explained the conditions required to produce the perfect wood for baseball bats. She detailed soil and climate conditions and how they impact the quality and speed of growth of the trees used for bat wood. How Ash has straight grains, is durable and easy to work with but Maple is denser with a tight grain. She talked about how the conditions affect hardness, durability, flexibility, weight, and moisture content. Those qualities of the woods determine the manufacturing process used and the final quality of the bat itself. Because without a quality bat to swing, even Babe Ruth couldn’t have been so successful at the plate.
But as the image of a beautiful hardwood forest with sunlight glinting through the canopy projected on the wall, all I could think about was that God must love Baseball. Why else would He have created the perfect conditions to grow this particular kind of wood in the northeast region of the United States? Why else would He have inspired people to create the game and discover the right forests to harvest and techniques to use to produce the best quality bats for the players to swing over home plate? It took my breath away to realize only God could create those exact conditions. And that He began that preparation long before The Babe was a baby. It humbled me to realize that He uses us humans to harvest, manufacture, and ultimately use those bats.
A Perspective Shift in Gratitude
I had to wonder if I was the only person to have ever been so emotional at a baseball bat factory tour.
But that experience changed the way I look at the things for which I’m grateful. There is nothing under the sun not created by our Creator. It can be so easy to overlook God’s direct hand in providing for all our needs when we don’t see manna falling from the heavens. But I’m using this experience to challenge myself to trace each of my blessings back to the One from Whom all blessings flow.
For example, as I consider if I will participate in the gratitude challenge this year (is that even still a thing?), I want to make a point of pointing out God’s hand in every. single. thing. for which I’m thankful.
It might go something like this:
Old Me: I’m thankful for PSL season.
New Me: I give all credit to God for creating a region of the world where a plant with beans thrives. I’m thankful that God inspired someone to harvest and dry and roast those beans and grind them and turn them into a delicious warm beverage that makes getting out of bed each day a pleasure. And I’m thankful that God inspired someone somewhere to try pumpkin and spice together with coffee and then make it for me in a to-go cup.
Stop Practicing Anonymous Gratitude
Something shifts in my mind and my heart when I intentionally practice this awareness of the source of my blessings. When I begin to see God in every blessing and give Him all the credit and glory, I am filled with wonder at His generosity. And that awareness is a blessing in and of itself.
So, I’m extending the same challenge to you. Most people are grateful for their blessings. They will even say so all over Facebook this month, but as Christians, we can take that gratitude one step further and use this opportunity to point to God as their Giver. There is a difference between being thankful and praising God from Whom all blessings flow.
You wouldn’t send an anonymous thank you note, so don’t practice anonymous gratitude. Give credit where credit is due.
For more on how important gratitude is, check out this article: Gratitude Overcomes Grumbling AttitudesWhy you should stop practicing anonymous gratitude! #blessed #gratitudechallenge #gratitude #givethanks Click To Tweet