To recap quickly what we learned in last week’s message (as we continue on in our series, “Blessed to Bless”): we are created to bless others (by benefiting them in some way) and to bless God (by exalting Him, or to see Him higher than ourselves).
Genesis 12:2-3: And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
2 Corinthians 9:7: Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
What a thought: when we give to God, He loves it! There’s something I can do to bring joy to God, to put a smile on the face of the Maker of all things. I am able to do something that He loves.
James 1:17: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Everything in your life – whether tangible or intangible – exists not for the purpose of your happiness, but in order to bless others. This can be problematic, if we take it as offensive to our hard work (our early mornings, our long hours, our strategically-honed skills). But this is a worldly perspective; every good thing (yes, even with all that hard work) was given to you by God. Everything is His, that He gives freely (and is not the ability to work hard, wake early, hone our skill sets, and even the breath in your lungs, blessings all on their own?). Remove your hard work from the equation, and you are still blessed). Remove God from the equation, and you do not even exist.
Here’s the catch: we don’t always feel #blessed. But is it possible to be abundantly blessed and simultaneously face incredible hardship? The Bible says yes:
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Luke 16:10: One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
Matthew 16:24-25: Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
We are tempted, so often, to bless God and bless others up to the point until it costs us something. We are encouraged, societally, to give only out of our surplus, and never any more than that. But this is where we have to remember that we have been immensely blessed first (even when it doesn’t feel like it!); nothing that we have to give is ours to begin with. It’s Gods, and He calls us to bless others with the gifts He gives.
Biblical references: Genesis 12:2-3; 2 Corinthians 9:7; James 1:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Luke 16:10; Matthew 16:24-25
- Have you been faithful in the little?
- Have you been faithful in much?
- How can you bless God and bless others? It will come at a sacrifice.