Blessed To Be A Blessing-Part 2 (It’s Not Always Easy)
The title of this blog, and Part 1 written last week, stems from a course I am teaching through the ministry of Esther by Design. If you have not joined us, I invite you to. I believe you’ll find it quite spiritually stimulating and thought provoking. In the month of February we will host a Community Service Project to engage in an activity to carry out the course subject. On Saturday, March 13th class will resume at 11:00 A.M. (EST). You will find the Zoom log in information on our website.
One of Dictionary.com’s definitions of the word bless, is to bestow good of any kind upon . . . So, interpreted one can bless another in word or deed. One of the New Testament Greek word translations for bless or blessing is Makarios, it focuses on good words or the good report of others. It also has direct correlation to The Beatitudes which are found in St. Matthew 5. If you read The Beatitudes entirely, you will notice that although they are blessings, all are not under favorable or pleasant circumstances. That is where I want to direct our focus today.
I believe that the love of God which dwells in us, prompts us to do good things and share God’s love with others. However, our humanity sometimes desires to override even our best intentions. We don’t always follow our hearts nor the Spirit of God. That could be the result of a myriad of reasons we use to justify our actions, or lack thereof. Yet, the bottom line is, as we are blessed the Lord expects us to bless others. The world often refers to it as “paying it forward”. At best the world can offer us good karma, where if we do good to others it will come back to us. I cannot say I disagree because I have seen much evidence to substantiate that fact. However, God does not operate in karma, but rather love and obedience. I have never in my entire lifetime seen an individual destitute or living in dire straits that strives to do right and obey God’s Word and His bidding. Yet, I recognize that some people feel that they should receive instant gratification or “payback” for doing good. May I politely say, God is not a genie!! Nor is He a promoter of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”! I stated last week that there have been times in my life that I have been urged by God to give something to someone and it was very difficult. It could have been something I loved dearly. or it could have been that I was being prompted to do something, say something, or give something to an individual that had wronged me at some point or another. I have never been one to hold grudges. Life is far too short for that. I attempt to do all I can and know to do to get along peaceably with everyone I come in contact with. But there have been times when I have experienced difficult situations with another individual and once the issue is resolved or I have made every attempt to resolve it, then it’s like – you go your way and I’ll go mine. Well, that’s not always God’s Way! And trust me, His way is always the best way. Okay, so what happens when God stretches you beyond your comfortable limits? For example, you have been saving money for a particular item, project, or a specific personal desire. Suddenly out of nowhere, this little voice inside you says you know “said individual” is having a difficult time, you should give them $100.00 with no questions asked or conditions for repayment. Wow! When we hear that little voice inside (might I interject, it’s probably God), it’s not always expedient in our rationale. What happens when a person from your past that undeniably was difficult to say the least every time you encountered them, suddenly from out of the blue calls you and needs a favor? Maybe it’s a reference letter, maybe it’s a request for prayer, maybe it’s just a listening ear. I would like to suggest that our first action should be a “what would Jesus do” moment. Please understand I am not suggesting that every response should always fulfill the person’s request. We must be careful to safeguard ourselves from those whose motive is simply to use others to their advantage. However, I feel that God often tests our level of gratitude to Him by placing opportunities in our path to bless His children that are in less favorable situations than we are. The worst thing we can possibly do is hoard blessings! I am inclined to recite a line in a familiar hymn that says, “The more you give, the more He gives to you. You can’t beat God giving no matter how you try”. So even our most generous and benevolent acts will never match how abundantly God has blessed us! When we push past the bits and pieces of selfishness that are buried inside us, we discover a willingness to give that magnifies the meaning of our own lives. As we open our hearts to bless others out of love and obedience, we discover qualities and capacities we did not know we possessed.
“Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would
borrow of thee turn not thou away.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that
curse you, do good to them that hate you, and
pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”
St. Matthew 5: 42, 44 (KJV)