Points of Ponder: The weight of your blessings

Points of Ponder
The weight of your blessings

A beautiful 18th century New England church received a gift that would add to the elegance of its wood frame architecture. It was a large crystal chandelier light. When the trustees hung if from the center beam of the sanctuary ceiling, it brightened the room. However, over time, they discovered that the weight of the huge fixture was stressing the wood support beams. This wonderful blessing they had received was too heavy to use.
Upon further examination of the church's original wooden support structure, they found that not only was it too weak to hold the chandelier, it was also too weak to hold up the sanctuary itself. The attempt to hang the weighty chandelier revealed that the progressive weakening of the wood beams had been occurring over the years.
Some weaknesses reveal themselves with the passage of time. Seldom noticed, the cracks and bows form slowly. Then a shocking sudden collapse occurs. And we lament that we didn't see it coming.
Like that old church, it may be the blessings we receive that will reveal structural weaknesses. In that church, officials saw the warning signs and made improvements to strengthen the original beams. It was the blessing of that huge light that made them aware of critical weaknesses. How easy it is to celebrate blessings we each receive while not seeing that these blessings also may be testing us. Can our current structure - our values, our faith, our understanding of scripture - support the good things we now enjoy?
Is it time to dig down into the foundation of who you are and check for weak spots and cracks? Certainly these tough economic times have tested the blessed. As incomes shrink, two-income households are surviving on one income. As job security is nonexistent for most folks, people are realizing what they want is not really what they need. Learning to do without, to wait, to pay-as-you-go, or to give it up altogether, some people now know they can't support a lifestyle they used to assume was normal. They do without certain things now. Why couldn't they do without them before?
Isn't it true that having wealth is a tougher test than poverty? The weight of our blessings strain us, stress us out, and have us running like crazy. Our blessings can help us discover the weaknesses below the surface. Upon what foundation are we building our lives?
I have learned from people who have suffered. They have a sharper eye for blessings. Losses are real and painful, but the wise person who loves the Lord has learned to not put the roots of their soul in earthly things which can (and eventually do) pass away. Their roots are in God and they see everything else as a gift to receive. Nothing is an entitlement or a possession to be owned.
It's much easier to lose count of our innumerable blessings than it is to take inventory of what we think we own. Treasures on earth are so easy to lose, but treasures in heaven are forever.
As Jesus said, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Luke 12:34)
There lies the blessing test. Where are your treasures? And as you consider the "weight" of all the blessings you have now, how strong is the support structure of your character? Are you bearing the load well? Or are you finding that all these good things on the outside are pulling you apart from the inside?
There are many options and opportunities, which we pursue and teach our kids to pursue as well.
"Thus says the Lord: 'Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom. Let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me'" (Jeremiah 9:23-24a).
You can be overwhelmed by the weight of your blessings. It's not always the bad or the forbidden that brings you down. Often it is the abundance of good things that reveals the poverty of one's soul.
You really can't perceive what's wrong in your world until you have a full appreciation of what is right. And what is right is that God is sovereign and He knows you better than you do.
"The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you" (2 chronicles 16:2).

Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring, MD (1/4 mile east of Clear Spring on Rt. 40). Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am and 7:50pm, both days. www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com