Pastor Larson’s Corner: Recognizing our blessings

Pastor Larsons Corner

I have a young friend who recently tried to recruit some of his buddies to help him with an inner-city project he was working on. He explained that the people they would be working with were very poor. His friends all said that they couldn’t understand why poor people couldn’t work hard and pull themselves up by their bootstraps. After all, they had worked very hard to get where they were in life: why couldn’t these poor people do the same?

My friend was quite amazed, because all of his friends attended the same private high school he attended. In addition, their parents had sent them to fine private universities. He said that his friends could not see how richly they had been blessed. They took the seemingly ordinary blessings of their lives completely for granted.

Recognizing blessings when we see them is an important thing to do. Every day you and I receive blessing upon blessing from God’s gracious hand. If we open our eyes, they are not that hard to see. The warm summer rains that replenish the lakes and ponds; the birth of a baby and the joy that comes with seeing it grow; the family and friends who stand by us in our greatest hour of need; and the promise of forgiveness and eternal life in Jesus Christ.

These blessings may not be particularly dramatic. In fact, because they seem so ordinary, we often don’t think of them as blessings at all. It seems to me that we have a choice. We can receive these ordinary blessings of God as just part of life as my friend’s buddies did. Or, we can see in these ordinary blessings the extraordinary love of God. Then, if we do, we may be strongly motivated to help those much less fortunate than ourselves.

Pastor Larson’s Corner is written by Jerry Larson and appears weekly in the Norwegian American Weekly.

Pastor Jerry Larson retired to his cabin in Zimmerman, Minn., after 39 years in parish ministry for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In 2011 he published a book entitled “Speaking the Word Freely: Writing with purpose, preaching with power.” Contact him at

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 24, 2014, issue of the Norwegian American Weekly.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.