6-Week Series: Against All Odds

Sermon Illustrations

Count Your Blessings--No, Really!

It was a typical Indiana spring day. Outside the house, it was raining. Inside the house...it was raining. Water slowly dripped from the ceiling, reminding me that when you replace your own roof, there's nobody to get mad at when it leaks.

I should be a pretty good roofer...I spent two summers roofing when I was in college. Of course that was in West Texas, where rainfall averaged 16.5 ounces a year (prior to last year's drought). Could it be that I was a really bad roofer all along and just never had my work tested?

I opened the closet, took out my wife's green raincoat and my Indiana Jones hat, and headed outside. I stood under the edge of the garage, looking sternly up at the spot where the leak was, hoping that if I stared at it long enough and hard enough it would stop. It didn't.

Out came the ladder, and up I went. I began squirting sticky black roofing cement into the roof valley, pressing it into place with my finger. As I worked, the rain continued to fall. Eventually, a perfect rain channel formed down the back of my coat, funneling all the water that hit my back directly down into the back of my shorts.

And then it happened. As I stood there in the rain, I heard the bells at the nearby retirement home begin to chime. And as the notes played, the words to a great old hymn came into my mind: "When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed..." I began to smile as the song continued: "When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost."

"Here it comes," I thought. The bells sang, "Count your many blessings, name them one by one. And it will surprise you what the Lord has done." I stood on the roof, soaking wet, my hands covered with tar, grinning and singing, "Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your many blessings see what God has done."

And so I did:

It was 75 degrees outside instead of 35.

I had some extra roof cement in the garage.

The water could have leaked one foot away, onto the computer.

I did actually have an hour of unscheduled time available (softball practice was rained out).

All in all, as roof leaks go, it was a pretty painless one.

And the bells reminded me of that. You may read this and say, "Well, Mark's just one of those saccharine-sweet smilers, a guy who always sees the glass as 'half-full'." Wrong. My glass is completely full, and runs over every single day with blessings. And while there are days that I'm too pig-headed or self-centered to see it, most days I am amazed at what I have. And even though I don't know you, my guess is that your days are mostly pretty good, too.

"Count your blessings, name them one by one. And it will surprise you what the Lord has done."

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