Recently, I read the biographies of staff members at a particular church. Every minister included this fact: “God has blessed us with (fill in the blank with a number) children.” Which gave me pause. I have no children. Would it be proper to write in my bio that Mark and I are blessed with no children? 😉
If having children is a blessing then it could be concluded that not having them is a curse. To say that God blessed me with a good husband is to infer that if someone does not have a good husband or no husband, it is because God did not bless that person with one. So does God like me more? Does he play favorites? 🤨
It seems our feeling “blessed” is in direct proportion to how well things are going for us. We want children; God blesses us with children. We want to be healthy; God blesses us with good health. We want to get married; God blesses us with a spouse. We want a great job; God blesses us with a wonderful career.
It sounds acceptable, even spiritual. We are giving God the credit after all, right? For blessing us. But is this good theology? It works fine until it is examined in the light of those who have none of the things they wish they had—the exact same things others who are “blessed” wish for. Have the unblessed been overlooked by God? If being “blessed” means getting what we want, then many people are not. Blessed. Which makes those who are “blessed” appear to belong to an elite club.
It seems to me that the unblessed people would be quite angry at God for blessing others but not them—especially if they were faithful believers. Would I love God as much if he did not “bless” me with the things I wanted? 🧐
Okay. I know some of you are arguing that what we really mean when we say we are “blessed” is that we are lucky. But that does not sound spiritual. So let’s substitute “thankful” for lucky. What we mean is that we are thankful to God for certain things in our lives. But the question still stands: Would I be thankful to God as much if I were not so lucky (blessed)?
I think we have misunderstood this idea of being blessed. We equate it to things-we-like-about-our-lives. That’s not how Jesus defined it. Look at the Sermon on the Mount. The people Jesus called “blessed” were those who were poor in spirit, in mourning, meek, longing to be satisfied, merciful, pure, those who were peacemakers, and those who were persecuted. Those were the people blessed. There is little in that list that has anything to do with things-we-like-about-our-lives. 😦
So here is the real question: Is God even concerned with us having things-we-like-about-our-lives? Hmm. 🤔 According to Jesus in Matthew 5, God’s blessings are possessing a rich eternal inheritance, comfort, satisfaction, mercy, seeing God, and being God’s children.
The fact is that when we are “blessed”—according to the popular definition of things-we-like-about-our-lives—we do not need God’s blessing! We feel good already. Things are going well. We do not need comfort or mercy or riches. We are, in fact, satisfied! And here’s the real stinger: having things-we-like-about-our-lives may or may not have anything to do with God! Hmm. 🧐
What makes Jesus’ words even more shocking is that according to his definition, we are blessed when we have things-we-do-not-like-about-our-lives. 😧 How can this be? Because it is in this state—when we have things-we-do-not-like-about-our-lives—that we recognize and learn to embrace our desperate need for God, and his great love for us diminishes and sometimes even supersedes the longing in our souls to need things-we-like-about-our-lives. 🙃 Hmm.
And that epiphany of recognizing our desperate need for God generally will not happen when we are surrounded by things-we-like-about-our-lives. 🤔 Hmm. Kinda’ gives a whole new perspective about being “blessed,” doesn’t it?