Tuesday, September 04, 2007

What does it mean to be blessed?

No one doubts that most of us in the West are blessed. We absolutely adore the concept - whether as a mealtime prayer, a ritual when someone sneezes, or a cheerful greeting ("have a blessed day"), we recognize that blessing is significant.

Yet so few of us realize that we are "blessed to be a blessing". If we truly grasped that the blessing doesn't stop at our doorstop, I'm not sure that The Prayer of Jabez would have been nearly as popular!

Ralph Winter puts it this way: Blessing, he writes, is "not something you can receive or get like a box of chocolates you can run off with an eat by yourself in a cave....It is something you become in a permanent relationship and fellowship with your Father in Heaven." ("The Kingdom Strikes Back", in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, 6th ed.)

Not something you get - something you become. He goes on to say that the blessing is contingent upon sharing it with others -- in other words, it's not a blessing until you pass it on. We think we've made progress when we "get" the concept of sharing part of our blessings - giving others a few chocolates from our box. But truly being a blessing goes beyond just sharing ... it is integral to who we are.

We are to become a blessing ... our very lives imparting blessing to others. This isn't surprising ... Jesus, after all, was the very incarnation of God, the ultimate blessing. Why is it surprising for Him to ask us to become something to bless others?

On the other hand, this concept is very liberating. "Blessing" others doesn't depend upon our checkbook, our pantry, or our house ... it is part of who we are. Is my life in every way imparting blessing to others? Am I becoming a blessing? These are the questions I asked myself tonight.

In your worlds, you may feel like you have nothing left to give. You struggle with the language, the culture, the food ... you don't have enough money for yourself much less others ... yet you have the Spirit of God in you, the Spirit they need. He is making you, in your very being, to become a blessing. That smile, that sincere question about a child's health, that cool hand to a feverish forehead, that second cup of tea to invite a guest to linger - all speak that you are becoming a blessing.

Don't let your circumstances define how you bless others. Open your heart and see all the ways God is making you a blessing today!

I know you are to me... never forget that.

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