Over the last week have been thrown into thinking mode by one of my friends Facebook status updates. He and his wife and son have just been to America and of course there is the good old flight to and from the States. On the way out from Heathrow they got bumped up to first class. What is that? Is that a sign of blessing from God? Was God revealing His pleasure on His servants? We often as Christians see outward signs as signs of blessing. Evidence of the hand of the Almighty upon our life and ministry. Responses to this status update were the usual ‘Praise God’ response, and maybe a hidden bit of jealousy (come on let’s be honest!). God is so good blessing His people in such an amazing way. Yet what about the faithful Christian that does not get bumped up to first class? Is that person not walking in the same blessing? Is there a generational curse or secret sin that needs to be sorted out? Are they not praying enough or maybe not walking in such measures of faith? And then what about the Moslem or athiest that gets bumped up? Is that a sign of God’s blessing on their lives? Is Allah blessing his man and the no god blessing their man? It really has raised many questions for me this week about the blessing of God.
The whole situation really took another twist on the return journey when they were bumped off four flights before they finally got a flight home. If getting bumped up was a sign of God’s blessing then what was this? Was God a bit tired now of doing nice things for them? Had they not fulfilled their destiny in America so they got punished for it? Had they got lessons to learn about patience? Some really wild thoughts I had on this were, maybe when they were bumped up God wanted them to give up those first class seats to someone else showing how selfless they were and because they didn’t do that God was teaching them a lesson. Prefer others surely. All of this to me reveals how shallow our interpretation, theology and outward evidence of blessing are. It is great receiving nice things and getting things going for us, but surely we cannot see this as the hand of the blessing of God. Blessing has to be more than just stuff. Jesus said something on this issue when Thomas wanted physical evidence of Jesus being raised from the dead. The stories were not enough for him. He finally got to see the living Christ and touch Him. Jesus agreed he was a blessed man because of this, blessed because he had seen something great. But then Jesus proceeds to say ‘but more blessed are those who believe and have not seen’.
Walk by faith and not by sight.
The implication here is that there is greater blessing for those that hang in there by faith without any physical evidence whatsoever. Why? Is it because God blesses them more? No I do not think so, it is because of the faith aspect, a faith that does not need evidence to exist and be strong. All in all this is a more content place to be when you do not have to worry about where the next bit of evidence will crop up. I believe in the angelic, I believe people can experience the angelic, yet I have never seen or experienced an angel. Does that mean I don’t think I am surrounded by them or that I have never met one in disguise or invisible? There are times when I certainly think the angelic have been involved in my life. I believe. Does this mean I am less blessed than those that see angels all the time and experience them regularly? I do not think so. There was a time when this really bothered me but not any more. I would love to see angels and experience them, but I believe. I have faith. I do not need the physical to reveal their presence to me. I am blessed. Blessed if I do and blessed if I don’t. Blessed if I can surround myself with people like David with the mighty men and the Cave of Adullum. Blessed if no one will listen and gather like with Noah and Jeremiah. The hall of faith in Hebrews makes it quite clear that it is nothing whatsoever to do with outward stuff by including characters that seemingly failed in it’s hall of honour. Noah’s message was rejected by everyone except his family, and they in a way had to be there because they were related. If he was a pastor today we would not invite him to speak at conferences. Where is the evidence of the hand of God? Surely he needs to get the message that he is not gifted to do this. Hebrews includes those beheaded and killed. Blessed? Less blessed than the one’s who lived and built churches of thousands? We need a new thinking and theology of blessing. We are blessed, full stop. Blessed. The blessing has already been released through Christ and it is not measured by what is going on. The sun shines on the righteous and the unrighteous. It rains both on the righteous and the unrighteous. Some things are just life, stuff, happenings. Is God in and through the events of our lives? Unquestionably, but one event is not a sign of blessing or curse, He uses all things of life to shape us from the moment we are born to the moment we die. It is just that we put too much weight on one seperate incident as evidence of His working. It is not about the evidence but about the eternal and faith to believe in what we do not see.
Live Blessed Whatever is going on.
Living blessed is not about pretense either. We do not need to keep smiling 24/7 through the stuff of life, but just be aware that even in the valley of shadow Someone lurks. For there to be a shadow there must be the existence of light. Blessed.
I know when I come to you, I shall come in the fullness (that which has been completed) of the blessing of the gospel of Christ (Romans 15:29)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing (chosen, adopted, forgiven) in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 1:3)