A couple of weeks ago, I posted a blog with a verse in it out of the Beatitudes. I have been thinking alot lately and have had a couple of conversations about the way we tend to use the word "blessed" or "blessing". It has even become popular on social media. #blessed often follows a post or tweet about something good that has happened to someone. We often think of being "blessed" as receiving a gift from God for us to enjoy. We are "blessed" with a monetary windfall. A new car is a "blessing". We are "blessed" with the birth of a new baby. I believe all of those things are true, but in the words of Inigo Montoya, "I don't think that word means what you think it mean." (from The Princess Bride) Here's what the Sermon on the Mount says in Matthew Chapter 5 (the words of Jesus):
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (verses 3-12).
There is no mention of monetary or earthly treasures in this list of blessings. All blessings are kingdom blessings. Comfort, righteousness, mercy, reward in heaven. Not cars, money, promotions or even relationships. I think our idea of "blessings" has morphed into a list of things the world values. God doesn't value those things. He has no use for them. "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where theives do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is there your heart will be also." Matt 6:20-21 WE are the ones who decided treasure = wealth.
The more I have studied and pondered the word "blessings", the more convinced I am that what we traditionally consider a "blessing" is really a responsibility. You see, God's number one priority is the salvation of the world. ("So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish." Matt 18:14) Because of this, God's gifts have eternal significance. We need to constantly be asking God, of our money (or house, or car, or promotion), "How can this be used for kingdom work?" We aren't meant to horde money and possesions. We aren't meant to use them only for our own entertainment and satisfaction ("Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure...You have lived luxuriously on the earth and led a life of wanton pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter." James 5:3-5) As counter-cultural as it sounds, God's Word indicates that the way to truly enjoy what we have and what we've been given is to glorify God by sharing it with others as He directs. This lends credence to the expression, "We are blessed to be a blessing to others." We will find joy and fulfillment in kingdom work. THAT is the REAL blessing.