My generation is obsessed with blessings and it doesn’t take a genius to figure this out. All you have to do is take a not-so-critical observation of how we pray and think. It’s in our every proclamation. Pouring out from every pulpit and sucked in with desperation from every pew.
Whoever you are, no matter how terribly blasé, villainous or tightly conservative you may be, you just laave blessings.
I do. A lot. But, at a point in my life, along with figuring out life isn’t a fairy tale after all, I also discovered something else; blessing is a vague thing. I mean I know it’s a good thing but what exactly is it? And the dictionary made this even worse for me by providing not less than four definitions for blessing.
But I also saw how people defined it:
“Look at that fine, young man, he just got a high-paying job, an expensive car and a big house on the island.” Sigh. “He is soo blessed.”
“My cousin is seventy and retired. All her kids are educated, married and have kids of their own. She and her husband recently celebrated their anniversary at the Bahamas.” Insert nod. “God has really blessed her.”
“You know Sarah? Yeah, she graduated with a first class. Such a smart, beautiful girl. Now, she’s getting married to Bill Gates’ son. That girl is so blessed.”
“I just got a scholarship to Harvard. Gosh, I am soo blessed!”
You get the picture? When a person is somehow fortunate to have things that bring physical comfort, we nod our heads and call them blessed. Favored. Happy.
Probably, but then it gets more confusing with the whole prosperity gospel going on in our churches today. Immediately the Pastor pronounces a blessing on you, he quickly proceeds with a succession of money, favor, health, connections, marriage, kids, yadda yadda pronunciations to accompany it. You can only make one conclusion.
But, the other day I was studying the Bible and I was shocked.
The people Jesus described were the poor (in spirit), the bereaved, the docile, those who were hungry and thirsty, the generally “too nice” guys who knew nothing, had nothing and sought nothing but God. They were the ones who were constantly spat on, degraded, lied about and generally hated to an unbearable point.
Jesus, after making a very thorough and sincere analysis of these guys, could only nod his head and say, “Blessed!”
Honestly, these people do not seem so blessed to me. They seem…miserable. Wretched. In fact, if they were from my part of the world, my people will call them accursed. “Dem don dey follow am for him village,”(a) they would say while they nod their heads sagely and pretend to throw spittle on the ground.
It just doesn’t make any kind of sense to me. Like:
“I am such a horrible mess. I can’t do anything right. I’m at the end of my rope. All I need is God” Sigh. “I’m so blessed!”
“I’ve lost a lot. I am so grieved right now.” Sniff. “How blessed I am!”
“My boss just laid me off for singing Don Moen. What a blessing!”
“Did you see the new ISIS video with those Syrian Christians getting their heads chopped off?” Sigh. “Such blessed people!”
“My class mates hate me. They keep calling me a witch with a fish brain. In fact, Leah slapped me yesterday for trying to preach to her.” Smile. “I’m crazy blessed!”
Am I the only one who thinks this is weird? It makes no sense. At least no common sense. But that is what God tells us. So, what exactly is blessing? I’m not sure I know yet, but going back to the Attitude guys, we find out that there was something about them. During the process of their general misery (from the world’s assessment), they get a huge deal in return. And this makes me think that maybe the blessing is in this.
And it wasn’t just about the fact that they were heaven-bound and had a reward from God. No. there was so much more.
They all got God.
In their moments of woe and desolation; whether as a Missionary in a far out rural area with little money. Or as a young orphan struggling to get by in a hell-hole. A young Christian trying so hard not to fit in…there was that uttermost and high state of bliss, rapture and beatitude. That unfurling peace and joy, that beautiful embrace and joyful assuredness of knowing;
He is here.
I am not alone.
I am His!
He is mine.
When you have the Master of all creation, the God of the Universe, the Love Himself, the Supreme commander of all as your Lord and Saviour, how can you want more?
And this, is the real blessing!
Are you blessed?
Have I disputed the place of material blessings? Nope. It will in fact result from the real blessing…but for a purpose. It’s important we know that it is not the real definition of blessedness from God’s perspective. Never forget that.
a – “Dem don dey follow am for him village.”
Literal meaning: He is being followed by his kindred.
Translation: He is under a spell.