What does it mean to be blessed?
I recently had the opportunity to help out in a particular situation for a family without the means to help themselves with certain needs. As I completed this experience I had some time to contemplate the situation and ponder some past experiences with what we in the United States consider a blessing. It has become very apparent to me over the last 5 or 6 years that the “church” (I use this in general terms) has associated money and wealth with blessing. I find this sad in that it completely distorts true blessing as Jesus referred to blessing in Mathew chapter 5 (known as the Sermon on the Mount). In the NIV, Jesus uses the word blessed 9 times in versus 3-11. Not one of those instances mentions, blessed are the wealthy. There is no stating blessed are those that have much for they will get more. Even with just a cursory look, one will note that none of the Beatitudes are attributes that our modern Western society would consider blessings. Let’s see, poor in spirit; mourners; the meek; those seeking righteousness; the merciful; ; peacemakers; the persecuted; and last but not least those who are insulted for their faith in Jesus. The only one of these that I see as a possible “modern day” blessing is the peacemakers. But even they might be considered as weak and therefore not possessing an attribute that deserves our time or energy. So who are the blessed and what is the expectation of those who are blessed.
Jesus tells us who the blessed are in Mathew 5. It would be foolish of me to try and elaborate on His words (you can’t top perfection). So what is the point of the first paragraph and my recent experience? It is this, blessing is from God. Blessing isn’t happiness. Blessing is a deep joy and understanding of who you are in God’s eyes and being able to hear His voice and respond in a way that demonstrates the love He has for all of us in a meaningful and life changing way. My blessing wasn’t that I have the means to help but that I was able to help. There were so many things that needed to be done and only a small amount of that required money. The blessing was in the shared life experiences, the laughter, and the time spent together. The blessing was a hug, a word of thanksgiving, a smile and simply being in the presence of family. God provided me the means to be a servant. If we are unable to use what He has given us, whether that is money or a more meaningful gift like our time and love, then He will take what we do have and give it to someone else. To fully reap the blessings of God we must be willing to reach out to others with whatever He has blessed us with. This may mean making a 5 minute phone call when we’d rather send an e-mail. I sincerely hope that the church in America will move our focus from the “prosperity blessing message” to the true message of God’s blessings and what that really means and how it can change the world.