November 2, 2022

Start Seeing God’s Blessings

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:11-12

When a certain businessman bought an Italian sports car known as a Lamborghini, he phoned the local parish priest and asked him if he would bless the new vehicle, which was no small investment.  Hesitatingly the priest asked, “Just what is a Lamborghini?”  That was it!  “Well, if you don’t know what one is, I don’t think your blessing would amount to much,” the man replied, and hung up.  Then he called a Baptist preacher and asked him if he would bless the sports car.  The pastor immediately responded: “A Lamborghini?  Wow!  That’s great.  Zero to 60 in 5.3 seconds. Best engineered sports car in the world.”  Then he hesitated and said, “You want me to bless it?  What’s a blessing?”

I’ve been thinking of you who write to us and who listen to Guidelines.  I’m convinced that a lot of people come to God these days wanting a blessing, but they are thinking that the kind of blessing which God passes out is a sprinkling of instant happiness and success.

Have you ever sneezed and someone replied, “God bless you!”  What do blessings have to do with a good sneeze?”  Not much.  The practice of saying “God bless you” comes from the Middle Ages when people thought an evil spirit could possess you when you sneezed, and that by saying, “God bless you” you were out of danger.

What is a blessing—the kind which God gives?   Bible translators fumble with some words in the Bible, trying to make them meaningful to people today.  But in so doing, they are missing something vital and important.  In relationship to God, a blessing is a gift of His grace, the touch of His hand upon your life, the breath of His presence in such a way that you are enriched, strengthened, helped, and enabled.  Does happiness mean the same thing?  No way!

Our English word happy comes from an old English word hap.  Our word happenstance comes from the same root.  This word meant “good luck, chance, or fortune.”  It’s not the same as a blessing from the Lord.

Let’s suppose that you are broke and hungry, and you are walking down the street.  You look at your feet and see a $100 bill.  You look around.  Nobody is there.  You pick it up and head for the restaurant.  Are you happy or blessed?  Perhaps both, but there is one thing for sure.  When the money runs out, you are in trouble again.  But the blessings of God never run out.

You can be blessed when you aren’t very happy.  For example, Jesus talked about people who lie about you, who mistreat you, who abuse you, and then He said, “Blessed are you!”  Happy? Not at all.  A person who would be happy in that situation would be not in his right mind. God’s blessings go far beyond feelings of happiness.

The blessings of God often come disguised—sometimes as a difficulty, something we would never chose for ourselves–but in retrospect we see how God’s loving hand gave guidance and direction in such a way that our lives were enriched, strengthened, and enlarged.

When you make happiness your goal, it never lasts, but when you seek blessing from the Almighty, you have an ongoing source of encouragement.  Like a spring that bubbles forth and will never cease, God’s blessings continue to touch our lives from birth to our home going.

Friend, don’t let the world do its number on you by convincing you that happiness is the greatest thing in life.  It’s the byproduct of being blessed by the Father, the realization that no matter what the circumstances, God is in charge.

 

Resource reading: Matthew 5:1-11