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Mr. Jones, a faithful but very tired Christian, dies and goes to heaven. St. Peter is stationed at the gate of heaven waiting to take Mr. Jones on a tour. After a short greeting, they walk together, viewing all the glories of heaven.

Mr. Jones notices a unique building. It has no windows and only one door. Jones wants to know what is inside the building, but St. Peter hesitates in his response. “You really don’t want to look inside there,” Peter says to this newest arrival in heaven.

Jones thinks to himself, “Why would there be any secrets in heaven? There must be a surprise for me in there.” He begs to see inside the building.

Finally Peter relents, “Ok, Mr. Jones, but remember I said you really don’t want to see what’s inside.” Jones almost knocks Peter over in his haste to get inside. He just knows he will see a big surprise waiting especially for him. To his delight the enormous building is filled with row after row of shelves, floor to ceiling, each stacked neatly with white boxes tied in red ribbons.

The newest resident of heaven observes that each box has a name on the front. “Do I have one of these?” Jones asks St. Peter.

“Yes, you do.” Peter says as he tries to guide Mr. Jones back outside. “Frankly,” Peter says, “if I were you . . .” But Mr. Jones is already sprinting toward the aisle marked “J” to find his box.

Peter follows, shaking his head. As he catches up, Mr. Jones is slipping the red ribbon from his box and lifting the lid. As Jones looks inside he instantly recognizes the contents and lets out a deep sigh. Peter has heard this sigh before.

Inside the box are all the blessings God wanted to give Mr. Jones while he was on earth, but alas, Mr. Jones had never asked.

“Even though there is no limit to God’s goodness, if you didn’t ask Him for a blessing yesterday, you didn’t get all you were suppose to have. That’s the catch—if you don’t ask for His blessing, you forfeit those that come to you only when you ask. In the same way that a father is honored to have a child beg for his blessing, your Father is delighted to respond generously when His blessing is what you covet most.” *

This story reminds us we need to step back and count the blessings our Father so generously gives away to us.

  • The blessing of communication in prayer. No one can stop us from communicating with the God of the universe. He stands ready to listen to His people and to share His thoughts with them.
  • The blessing of others. Each of us has someone in our lives we count on when we need a helping hand.
  • The blessing of family. Blood relationships are truly relationships that bind hearts and lives together.
  • The blessing of worship. The participation with others in the adoration and praise of the living God who saves us from our sins.
  • The blessing of service. Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, “Make us worthy, Lord, to serve those throughout the world who die in poverty and hunger. Give them through our hands this day their daily bread.”
  • The blessing of laughter. Someone once wrote, “Laughter is the chimney sweep for the cinders of the heart.”
  • The blessing of joy. Joy is not the absence of suffering, but the presence of God.
  • Go ahead and count your blessing; name them one by one. Don’t be like Mr. Jones and have a box full of unused blessing sitting in heaven; use every one of them here on earth!

    * Adapted from: Bruce Wilkinson, The Prayer of Jabez (Sisters, Oregon: Multnomah Publishers, 2000), 25-27.