Recently, I heard a preacher exhort his congregation to “seek God’s blessings upon your life so that you can become a blessing to many others around you”. However, the preacher was obviously encouraging his audience to acquire material possessions which they could share with or give to others, so that they would “become a blessing to others”. The thought that immediately flashed through my mind was: “Can I be a blessing, even when I am not ‘blessed’?” It is a principle that I have always believed.
Popular Christian culture seems to thrive on this word “blessings”. But its meaning is often associated with material gain: it is common to hear the statement that because of one’s spiritual standing, one is so “blessed”. This misconception prevails, as many Christians think that an increase in wealth and social status are indicators of God’s blessings. If one has a successful career, good health, and a family, we are truly blessed.
Though I do not deny that we should be grateful for these and other measures of “success”, they do not define one as a blessed person. Nor do they guarantee that one will be a blessing to others.
Scripture shows us the struggles one has when dealing with wealth. The rich young ruler would not give up his wealth to follow Christ. Was wealth a blessing in his life, then? Zacchaeus acquired much wealth and social status amongst the rich through dubious means, yet he could not have been a blessing to the community if he continued that way. Success, wealth and respect at high places did not make them a blessing to themselves or to others because of a major obstacle – the lack of humility.
A call to be a blessing is a call to humble ourselves before God, and acknowledge that we are not worthy of anything but for the grace of God. I am convinced that is the reason we are taught the hymn ‘Count Your Blessings’, so that we begin to understand the source of all our provision – Jehovah Jireh! It is the humbled heart which acknowledges that all one’s possessions belong to God and so handles them as responsible stewards; this qualifies us to be a blessing to others.
As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “possessions are not God’s blessings and goodness, but the opportunities of service which he entrusts to us”.
The illustration of humility through the “widow’s two mites” in Luke 21 shows how one can be a blessing even in poverty. The widow remained blessed and joyous even in her poverty, as she had given away all that she had for the glory of God. Unnoticed and not seeking praise, she displayed the joy of the Lord by quietly making her sacrifice of thanksgiving.
When we have understood that our greatest blessing is the Lord Jesus Christ and His salvation, this is the beginning of our being a blessing to others. Wealth and good health no longer dictate our blessedness – only the joy of the Lord does!
Even today, some of you may be praying for a financial breakthrough to be a more effective person and to be a blessing to others, but it does not work that way. You are already blessed with Christ and His salvation and are called to be a blessing with these gifts.
Therefore, let your year begin by being a blessing to someone with what is already in you. Be generous with your time and other resources which are at your disposal: Encourage the discouraged; give a word of affirmation to one who feels insecure; lend a listening ear to the lonely; inspire the defeated. There is a never-ending list of ways that we can be a blessing to another, but it always begins with you, and it begins now.
The Rev James Nagulan –
was elected President of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) in 2016 for the quadrennium. He is also Pastor-in-Charge of Tamil Methodist Church (Short Street) and Seletar Tamil Methodist Church.
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