One Hundred BlessingsDecember 17, 2018 - 12:00 am
The king rejoices in your strength, LORD. How great is his joy in the victories you give! — Psalm 21:1
One of the founding principles of The Fellowship is God’s eternal promise He made to Abraham in Genesis 12:3, “I will bless those who bless you.” This is one of 18 devotions exploring the concept of blessing, barak, which means, “to increase,” or “bring down Divine abundance.” To learn more, download our complimentary copy of Rabbi Eckstein’s teachings on being a blessing to others.
Imagine for a moment that you have gone for hike on a nice summer morning. The sun is out, the sky is clear, and you set out on your path. Now imagine that during the hike, you make a wrong turn and become lost. Morning has turned to noon and the sun is blaring. Your water is long gone, your mouth is parched, and your strength is waning. Finally, you find your way back to civilization and make a beeline for the nearest source of water. “Thank you, Lord!” you say as you gulp down the water. Water never tasted that good!
Now contrast that experience with one that we encounter almost every day. Water is all around us – from the sink, the water dispenser, in fancy bottles. Water now comes in dozens of flavors and can be fortified with vitamins. And you know what? Most people take it completely for granted. Big deal, water is everywhere.
Isn’t it ironic? The more we have of something, the less we appreciate it. When we lack something and then we receive it — even if it’s only a small amount — we overflow with gratitude. But when we have something in abundance, our tendency is to overlook the blessings.
In Psalm 21, King David modelled just the opposite approach. The psalm begins, “The king rejoices in your strength, LORD. How great is his joy in the victories you give!” David was king, which meant that he had everything and anything that he could ever want. Wealth was his. Honour was his. Victory was his.
But what did David say? It’s all from the Lord. David rejoiced in the blessings that came from God. He didn’t take a single one for granted nor did he think that he was the source of his blessings. David understood that all his gifts and strength were from the Lord, and he was so very grateful.
The Jewish sages teach that during a certain period in David’s reign, 100 people died prematurely each day from an unknown plague. The spiritual source was eventually uncovered, and the sages at the time prescribed a remedy: Every person was commanded to say 100 blessings a day – or 100 expressions of gratitude. The decree went into effect, and the plague stopped immediately. Ever since then, it has been the Jewish tradition to recite at least 100 blessings a day. We are careful to maintain a state of gratitude, lest we find ourselves cut off from our blessings.
Take the 100 blessing challenge. Can you find 100 things to be grateful about today? Everything, from the food we eat, to our physical abilities, to the people in our lives, is a blessing from God. Let us bless others, and in so doing, be blessed.