Life’s Lessons

Count your blessings

By Helen Guilfrod - Special to The Expositor

When I worked in the coal mines, a favorite saying of one of the miners at times when he thought situations could definitely be handled better was, “You know this would be a good place to start a coal mine.” I didn’t really “get it” at first but later came to appreciate his thinking.

It’s so easy to contract a severe case of PMS (Poor Me Syndrome) both individually and communally. How often we allow ourselves to get in a real miry slump because we see only what affects us at any given time.

I was reminded of this a couple of Sundays ago when I filled the pulpit for a pastor while he visited family in another state. It was a two-church charge so I had to listen to my own message twice that day! And the message has stuck with me. I’m not going to give that to you today, though.

These were two small churches. The first church has a pianist. They also have a lay speaker in their own congregation but still chose to invite me to come. Their lay speaker served very comfortably as worship leader for the service. There were perhaps 20 people in attendance – all adults.

Knowing attendance is usually down when the pastor will be absent, I asked what their usual attendance is. She said it is around 25, maybe 27 on a good Sunday.

I went on to the other church. They have no pianist. Last summer when I was there, the pianist from the first church also served the second, but now the second church uses recorded accompaniment for congregational singing. The attendance? Well, when I looked at my watch and found it was time for the service to start, there were about nine people there, including me.

Seemingly undaunted, the gentleman who would actually lead the service went forward and opened the service. No apologies for the skimpy attendance. It was as though this attendance was average. Again, after service I inquired as to usual attendance and was told it is around 15, maybe 17 on rare occasions.

Yes, it’s easy to slip into a real funk with so few attending. As a church, we think, “Poor me!” I know how this goes because my own church, along with many others, has hit the skids as we now average around 20 worshipers.

I was thinking about all of this when I had the urge to count our (the church) blessings. Looking around, I found we have: enough musicians to have both organ and piano each Sunday even when one musician is out due to sickness; people who can read Scripture with meaning so listeners really get something out of it; a pastor who can take a simple Bible story and bring an in-depth message out of it making it relate to daily life and who also truly cares about us and our church.

That’s just the visible stuff. We have a God who loves us so much He sent His only begotten Son to die in our place so we can spend eternity in heaven with Him! (John 3:16) Look around you and around your church. Then, count your blessings. You may find, like my coal miner friend, “This would be a good place to start a church.”

Now, having counted your blessings, look to see what YOU can do to bring more blessings to your fellowship!

Count your blessings

By Helen Guilfrod

Special to The Expositor