Mark Eekhoff / 20 NOV 2014 (MNN) – I have managed to reduce the process of measuring blessings into 2 simple steps:
Step 1: Stop trying.
As I spend my first month in a new continent, I’ve been reflecting often upon what brought me here, and how I am able to stay. The answer is clear: God’s grace through the generosity of friends.
I want to be clear that this post is not intended to cover a large variety of the blessings involved with serving overseas as a missionary. Instead, I am choosing to write more specifically about the aspect of financial support in missions.
From a young age I was taught to thank God when I receive blessings. So as the financial support began to arrive, I began by thanking Him for it. At first it was easy. My parents were very intentional about being my first supporters, so I thanked God for their support. Soon after, a college friend got online and added his monthly contribution. Then a long-time church member and friend chipped in. So my next prayer of thanksgiving included my parents and the names of two other couples. You can see where this is going. After about a month, my list of supporters grew to a length that my 5-times concussed brain could not recall by memory.
I pressured myself to remember a few gifts that I felt particularly blessed by; so I could pray a more specific prayer of thanksgiving. So I set out to check my list for specific gifts that I felt more blessed by than others. When I made that futile attempt to rank each blessing, I learned my lesson – blessings just cannot be measured.
How am I to say I am blessed more or less by one gift over another? Is it the overwhelmingly large sum that a close friend provided? Maybe the check received in the mail from a person I’d never met? How about the crumpled up bills of from the allowance of a 5th grade boy? Or the offering money and quarterly pledge received from the church I grew up in? A high school friend who contributed a portion of her business’ proceeds? Perhaps it’s the monthly pledge of a family going through a fight with cancer?
I could write paragraph after paragraph describing gift after gift after gift, and I can only come up with one conclusion: blessings all weigh the same. There is no unit of measure. I have not received “this many” cubic feet, or “that many” ounces of it. The only unit is enough.
And so I can confidently say that I have been blessed, by God, in many ways. Specifically this time; through those of you who support the ministry that we are a part of in Lesotho. I imagine feel now something similar to how Paul felt when he wrote the words of Philippians 4:14-20:
14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. 18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.
It brings immense joy to know God’s blessings, and even more joy to know that with His blessing is the gift of grace, which is more than enough. For myself particularly, it brings new kind of gratitude to look through my list of supporters and see the multitude of people He in using to deliver those blessings. This leads me to the second step of my quick formula.
Step 2: Give Thanks
So, in short, thank you.
Mark Eekhoff is a missionary in Lesotho. Read more about his mission at Shepherding Shepherds