From the Pastor’s Desk – November 2022
The renowned teacher and author Dr. David McLennon tells a story of his very first job in a small-town general store. This was the day before mails and supermarket chains at least it was in his community. At age thirteen he was hired as a handy boy. He would sweep the flour, bag items for customers, put up stock.
On one particular Saturday, he recalled, he heard the owner say to one of the clerks “It’s that time of the year again, it’s time to take inventory.” Dr. McLennon wrote that this was a word that had not yet entered into his vocabulary. When an opportune moment arrived, he went up to the kindly older man and asked, Sir, what is an inventory? Patiently the owner explained that it was a time when you made a list of everything that you had from groceries on the shelves to wrapping paper and string. Still somewhat puzzled, the young McLennon then asked, Why?
“Well,” responded the owner, “it’s easy to forget exactly how much you have each year. Every now and then you have to take an inventory just to see what all you have.”
So often we are apt to complain about the challenges we face or about what we are lacking. What if instead, from time to time, we sat down to list the gifts, blessings and opportunities God has given us. It seems to me that this would be a great exercise especially when we are in a mood to whine or wallow in self-pity.
That little story, to me, pretty well sums up what Thanksgiving is all about. It is a time when each of us needs to ask ourselves the question: Have I taken inventory of my life lately? Have I made an effort to count all the things that I do have in life instead of complaining about the things that I don’t have. It is a good exercise especially when we are of a mind to brood or whine in self pity. Have you taken inventory lately?
What I am suggesting here is not some shallow “count your blessings” platitude. But from time to time, in a genuine kind of a way, we need to sit down and do some talking to ourselves about all of the gifts and opportunities and challenges that God has given each one of us. Perhaps there is a deep underlying wisdom in the children’s poem that says: “Count your blessings one by one, and you might be surprised what the Lord has done.”
It is easy to forget just how much we have. Every now and then, let’s take inventory.