What does it mean to be “blessed”???
Does it mean everything’s going your way? Your political party’s in office, you’re climbing the ladder of success in your career, you’ve got a million followers on “Tweetbook”, and your financial portfolio is performing like gangbusters?
Does it mean you’ve got everything you want? The big house, great car, jet-setting lifestyle, designer clothes, fame and fortune, and no wrinkling, sagging body parts?
Does it mean your children are good, your spouse worships the ground you walk on, and your friends envy you?
And if all this describes what it means to be blessed, do you think you earned it? Do you really deserve it?
I bet if you’re really honest, you’ll admit you don’t “deserve” any of these things.
I bet if you’re really honest, you’ll admit that these things don’t really make you feel all that great, all that “blessed,” deep down inside.
The truth is, being blessed means none of these things. And that’s a good thing. Because, truthfully, once you achieve or accumulate these things, you still feel the same as you did before. Empty. Wanting more.
King Solomon was really “blessed” by God. If you read about him, you know that he truly did “have it all.” God gave him what he asked for, and he took advantage of the opportunity. He tried everything, experienced everything, bought everything, and owned everything he wanted. And he was still bored and empty. He said, “I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless–like chasing the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 1:14, NLT)
So, he was abundantly “blessed” by worldly standards, and yet remained stressed. He came to the conclusion that life and everything in it appears to be a meaningless vapor, here today and gone tomorrow, so what’s the point? What’s the purpose?
So if all of the above is truly meaningless under the sun, then what does it really mean to be “blessed”?
Is being blessed the absence of any stress? Does it mean you should never have to go through any of the tough experiences of life? You should never lose a job? Do without what you want? Go hungry? Lose a loved one?
If that’s the case, then wow, that’s discouraging, because I’ve never known ANYONE who’s been blessed.
I find it sad that “the world,” and so many religions, and even many “Christian” leaders, attempt to convince us that we will be blessed with earthly and heavenly riches and rewards, and that pain and suffering will pass us on by, if we simply follow specific rules and do enough “good,” and conversely, if we aren’t being blessed with lots of riches and rewards, then we must not be “deserving” because we just aren’t doing enough good, or trusting God enough.
It’s sad because it is a lie. It is a lie from the pit of hell. This is a tool that Satan uses to convince us to that we are our own little gods, and that we don’t need to depend up the Lord for everything.
If you think you are “earning” any of the blessings you’ve happened to receive, then I’ve got news for you. You’ve just made yourself your own little god.
And likewise, you’re saying to everyone around you who may be suffering from illness, loss, poverty or depression that they deserve it.
Yes, that’s what you are doing.
But you know what? The truth is none of us “deserves” to be blessed. We cannot earn it. Blessings are a gift from God, and they are not representative of worldly success or the world’s definition of blessings.
They are much better than that. They are eternal, they last forever. And knowing you are blessed with eternal blessings helps us to overcome the world and all of its suffering and pain, because that means there is HOPE.
So, let’s try to straighten this out here. What does it truly mean to “be blessed?”
We find a clue in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, the first recorded sermon He gave, described in Matthew 5 – 7. If we take a look at the first few verses (which I have paraphrased below), He tells us what it means to be “blessed,” and just who it is that is truly blessed in this world.
And let me warn you, it’s not your usual suspects.
I didn’t see one Kardashian or Real Housewife mentioned in it.
“Being blessed” means much more than just being happy and feeling like everything is going your way because you are getting what you want. In fact, “being blessed” is completely independent of what’s going on in your worldly circumstances.
It’s not dependent upon your success in your career, the number of pairs of shoes you have in your closet or things you’ve accumulated, a perfect body, the achievements of your kids, or the fact that you’re married to George Clooney (good thing – since nobody’s ever been able to manage that one.).
I once heard a very well-known television preacher talk about how he was so blessed that the Lord allowed him to drive a Lexus – so he must be doing something right and we should all take a cue from him. Well whoop-de-do! He’s got it all wrong.
I don’t drive a Lexus and I don’t consider myself “less blessed” than anyone who does.
In fact, when I actually take a moment to compare myself to folks that I really consider blessed, I tend to look toward those with MUCH LESS than I have myself. Even MUCH, MUCH less.
In fact, there are folks in third-world countries living in mud huts and who eat only one meal a day who live lives realizing how blessed they are much more than I do.
How is this possible?
It is possible because they know the secret. They know the Truth.
The truth is that being blessed is not dependent on our outward circumstances. At all.
Being blessed is the deepest form of happiness. It is pure hope and joy, deep within our hearts, KNOWING that ALL good things, every little thing we have, comes from God, and KNOWING that we will follow Jesus, no matter what the cost. It is pure joy that remains deep inside, even if EVERYTHING were taken away from us.
What does Christ’s Sermon on the Mount tell us about what it truly means to “be blessed?”
Blessed are the poor, because they realize their need for God. (It’s not their poverty that makes them blessed, but their trust in God.)
Blessed are those who mourn, because they know that GOD is going to comfort them and fulfill His promises to them.
Blessed are those who are humble, because they will inherit the earth – they know that God is going to give them everything they have ever needed or desired.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, because they believe in the day in which their hunger and thirst will be satisfied BY GOD.
Blessed are the merciful, because God will show them mercy (of which we are all in need).
Blessed are the pure in heart, because they are going to see God (face to face, on His throne, as He is!).
Blessed are those who work for peace, because they are going to be called the children of God (and what good earthly father withholds anything from his child? So, do you think our heavenly Father will withhold anything from us, as his children, his heirs?).
Blessed are those who are persecuted for doing right, because God will welcome them into His eternal Kingdom (Oh, to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!)!
Nowhere in this sermon did I see anything about “blessed is he who has the greatest faith or works the hardest, ‘cause God is going to bless them with a Lexus as proof of their great faith and works!”
And nowhere did I see anything promising that we wouldn’t face pain and suffering, hardships and trials.
Pure and simple, to be blessed by God means that we are focused on His eternal Kingdom, not temporary, worldly gain.
Back to King Solomon – he eventually realized that our purpose comes in remembering our Creater, and His commands, so that we can experience the true joy in life – the joy that comes from God, not from worldly things or success.
So, it is possible to smile in the rain. To remain strong in adversity. To persevere under persecution. And to maintain hope, even in loss and suffering.
THIS is a blessing. THIS is the greatest blessing – this is what remains, when all else fades away: Faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is LOVE. (1 Corinthians 13:13, paraphrased)
Be blessed my friend,