Have you ever read an article that stays with you, causing you to rethink how you view things? I read one of those last week and wanted to share with you where it led me. The article from To Save a Life is entitled, “The One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying.” That one thing? Calling our material bounty a blessing. Before you disagree, go on over there and read Scott’s explanation. I’ll wait for you. 🙂
So, let’s talk about what is and what isn’t a blessing.
What IS a Blessing
Love. God the Father loves me so much that He allowed man to torture and kill His perfect Son so that I might be able to stand before Him with no guilt and no shame.
Salvation. Jesus the Son loves me so much that He willingly gave up His throne, His privilege and power to die in my stead for my sins.
Relationship. The Holy Spirit loves me so much that He willingly comes to dwell inside imperfect me to guide me and protect me and purify me, if only I will listen.
Who else does that?! The dichotomy of a love so great that a sacrifice so horrendous had to be made. I just can’t wrap my brain around the idea that God loves me that much. THAT is both a once-for-all-time and an ongoing blessing.
Psalm 37:36, Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
What IS NOT a Blessing
Okay, time to rethink the “Christianese.” If you read Scott’s article, you know where I’m going. The STUFF isn’t the blessing. The idea of the stuff being a blessing has been such a part of our Christian talk that it seems almost sacrilege to say it ain’t so. I have used the phrase often myself, thinking it is “giving God the glory.” But is it really? I have sometimes felt a little twinge when saying or hearing someone else say that the new car or the new house or the pay raise is a blessing. However, I never stopped to ask myself why that seemed off.
If my friend Joe talks about a windfall that he received and what a blessing it is, how does that make me feel? Let’s be real here. I’m happy for Joe, but there’s a tiny voice in my head wondering why he deserved a blessing that I didn’t. See what happens? Our focus changes from joy for what God has done to a works mentality. Maybe if I had prayed more, served more, fasted more…..
And what about our sweet Christian brothers and sisters who have less, who struggle to survive? Are they somehow not as blessed as we are? Not as loved? Are they less than?
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be grateful for the stuff. We certainly should be thankful for God’s provision. He is Jehovah-jireh, our provider. However, calling the stuff a blessing can cause us to think we are allowed to keep it for ourselves. What if, just maybe, it’s an assignment? Just as we receive with open hands, maybe we should also pray with open hands, asking how and where God wants those things to be used. Always to further His kingdom, right? Luke 12:48, For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required.
What do you think? Would changing your thinking about blessings versus assignments also change your attitude toward those things? Or am I just playing semantics? Let’s talk- chime in below. 🙂