That field of beans west of the barn, it looked gaunt come October, bean pods all hanging like bony ribs.
Whenever the wind sighed, the whole field just rattled skinny.
That’s how my Dad always spoke of a railish man, that you could count his ribs. Nothing in me wanted to count those beans, know the yield, from this spare field.
When the Farmer rolled the combine in and lowered the combined head to bring those beans in, I sat beside him, raised my voice to ask it above the working engine:
Is it possible that something that doesn’t look anything — can still amount to anything?
The field, it was hard to even look at.
I’ve known a face in a mirror much like that.
“It isn’t much to look at, is it?”
The Farmer looks up from the combine’s steering wheel, looks across the field to the north.
“Weedy. And thin.”
The white of the sow thistle seeds mingle with the dust. This field had no rain in July and a man can’t make a sky give. He can just make the knees bend and the hands raise.
The harvest looked like a failure.
I’ve known this, been this, am this.
The first time thanksgiving is ever mentioned in Scripture, this is what we discover about first about thanksgiving:
“And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings that one may offer to the LORD.
If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the thanksgiving sacrifice unleavened loaves mixed with oil, unleavened wafers smeared with oil, and loaves of fine flour well mixed with oil.
With the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving he shall bring his offering with loaves of leavened bread….”
The thanksgiving offering was part of the peace offering and that is the thing:
No one receives the peace of God without giving thanks to God.
Thankfulness is the deep, contented breath of Peacefulness.
Is this why He asks us to give thanks even when things look a failure? When there doesn’t seem much to give thanks for?
The beans rattle through the combine, the auger filling the bin with golden beans like bread rising slow.
There were to ten offerings of bread in every Thank-offering of the Israelites.
The first were like crackers. The second like wafers. These were known for their thinness. This was the order of thanks.
The thanks began for the thin things, the wafer things that almost weren’t, and the way to give thanks for the people of God is first to give thanks for even the meager and unlikely.
Then it came, thanks for the leavened bread. Why leaven, yeast, that seen in Scripture as impure, unwanted, as part of the thanksoffering?
Authentic thanks is always for all things, because our God is a God kneading all things into a bread that sustains. Paul gave “glory in tribulations” (Ro. 5:13) and took “pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake” (2 Cor. 12:10), and he knew that which didn’t look like anything good might yield good, all in the hand of a good God.
To bring the sacrifice of thanksgiving means to sacrifice your understanding of what is beneficial and thank God for everything because He is benevolent.
A sacrifice of thanks lays down our perspective and raises hands in praise anyways – always.
A sacrifice is by definition not an easy thing.
There is this: We give thanks to God not because of how we feel – but because of Who He is.
“See it on the monitor?”
The Farmer points to the screen to the right of the combine’s steering wheel.
“See the numbers, how many bushels an acre? If you didn’t see the numbers – you’d never guess, would you? It’s yielding much more than it looks.” He’s shaking his head in happy wonder.
“Really? How can that be?” The numbers on the screen defy the seemingly sparse, stunted crop seems and I’m laughing incredulous.
“I know! I know…” The Farmer smiles, glances down at the beans feeding in the combine head, one eye still watching number of bushels on the screen.
He who is grateful for little is given much laughter… and it’s counting the ways He loves, this is what multiplies joy.
And the life that counts blessings discovers its yielding more than it seems.
Why don’t I keep an eye on the number of His graces? Why don’t I want to know that even though it doesn’t seem like there’s been enough rain, He reigns and He is enough and the bounty is greater than it appears?
That the thin places might be the places closest to God and the skinny places might be fuller than they seem and who isn’t full with Christ?
“Look how many seeds were really hiding in this pod!”
Shalom calls to me walking back across the field. “Count them, Mama.”
“Yes.” I say. “Yes, let’s count.”
And there’s this counting the ribs of the field and graces fill unexpectedly and thanksgiving is always this path to inner peace and I see it —
How the Farmer waves to me from the harvest seat, his hand turned willingly up to the sky
Counting more of the endless, One Thousand Gifts…
Thank you, Lord…
#2823 … for yield out of impossibly thin places
#2824… that You reign and You are enough
#2825… for a husband that trusts and works faithfully on
#2826… for the crazy grace of You harvesting something anyways out of the not-much: #9 for One Thousand Gifts on November’s Evangelical Christian Publishers Bestseller’s List (The gift season begins and the gratitude revolution grows, us counting all the gifts we have in Him!)
#2827… for blueberry buckle on Sunday afternoons
#2828… for standing in the congregation and singing It is Well with My Soul
#2829… for Christ who made peace for us through the blood of the cross and leads us in the way of sacrifice
#2830 that I can count on, knowing always Who I can count on
Free Printables to wear the habit of Joy
NOVEMBER’s Free Gratitude Calendar (whew! finally! Thank you for grace!)
(folding instructions for booklet here)
Will you join us? And happily change everything by keeping your own crazy list of One Thousand Gifts? Please, jump in, make your life about giving thanks to God! — Just add the direct URL to your specific 1000 gift list post… and if you join us, we humbly ask that you please help us find each other in our refrain of thanks by sharing the community’s graphic within your post. Give thanks to the Lord! His Love Endures Forever!