... Jesus' disciples came to Him, and He began to teach them, saying, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." Matthew 5:1b-6
In my ministry, I've heard many shortcut ways that God's people try to share the Good News of Jesus. One way they say it is to simply say, "God's peace to you" or "God bless you." That's more than "Gesundheit." It really is a mini-prayer, a dedicated disposition that God's people want others to know so that they know God really cares about them. Other times people will say things like "God is good, all the time" or "All the time, God is good." The implied blessing there is you can trust God no matter what is going on in your life. Of course, more information might be needed as to why, but the simple fact is that God in the Person and work of Jesus can be trusted even to the point of death. Why? Because His resurrection -- and yours -- are sure. God didn't just say it, He accomplished it. But there's another way that God's people try to express God's favor -- not just for them -- but for all. Have you ever heard someone respond to the question "How are you doing?" and they say, "I'm blessed. Thank you"?
Now that seems like an odd way of talking, doesn't it? When you are asked that question, you are probably saying things like "I'm doing all right" or "I'm having a tough day" or "We'll see. I'll let you know later." The statement "I'm blessed" seems a bit arrogant, maybe even somewhat overconfident. Right?
Well, that's true if we think of blessing as something that's externally demonstrable in our personal lives. It's easy to say, "I'm blessed" if you've got a wad of cash in your bank account, or you've got wonderful health, or you've got lots of family and friends. Oh, by the way, there's nothing wrong with that kind of blessing. The key here is what they are doing with it to give God glory and to serve others in His Name. But such blessing could even be a temptation too. It makes it seem that God is blessing certain people because of who they are and what they are doing. That's not how God blesses at all. In fact, Jesus says some pretty incredible things about blessing today, doesn't He?
"Blessed are the poor," "blessed are those who mourn," "blessed are the meek," "blessed are the merciful," "blessed are the pure in heart," "blessed are the peacemakers (see Matthew 5:3-12). That doesn't sound like much of a blessing, does it? I thought it was the powerful, the connected, and the wealthy that are blessed. I thought it was those who look like they have it all together -- fame and fortune -- those are the ones who are blessed, right?
Take a moment and hear Jesus very clearly today. Being blessed is being connected to Him by faith. And yes, then you are blessed in all things because the Creator and Redeemer of the universe is your Savior, your Friend, and no matter what you are facing that is a blessing indeed, as He Himself says,
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness ... Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and say false things against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven ...." (Matthew 5:6a, 11-12a).
May His promise then encourage you today. Be blessed!
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, there are all kinds of things in life that tempt me to think I'm blessed when I'm not, or tempt me to think I'm not blessed, when I truly am. Give me strength to put my faith in You, to follow Your Word in obedience, and to trust You when You tell me I'm blessed because of who You are for me and for those I love. Amen!
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Speaker of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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