Sitting across the table from an Old Testament scholar and he asked me a question that I knew would change me:
“Jim, do you know what the word blessed means?”
Immediately, I thought, “I know I should, but your question kind of makes me feel like you think I don’t know what it means.” Images of memes and cultural references to being #blessed (you know, hashtag blessed) came to mind. Spoiler alert: none of those are accurate. Here is what he said:
Many of us assume that to be blessed means material things such as cars, or paid bills, or a house. Others refer to our family/children to talk about how we are blessed. But the foundational meaning of “blessed” is that someone important things you are significant, valuable and worthwhile. Blessing can mean more than that, but it does not mean less than that. There are many ways the bible speaks of blessing. But, when Christians are blessed, it is not because of any outward circumstance, but because GOD thinks you are significant, valuable and worthwhile.
When God created Adam and Eve, the one of the first things He did was bless them (Gen. 1:28). When Noah stepped off of the Ark after the flood, God blessed him and his family (Gen. 9:1). When God called Abraham to a new, unknown land, He promised to bless Abraham and all of God’s people saying, “I will make you a great nation, and I will BLESS you; I will make your name great, and you will be a BLESSING. I will BLESS those who BLESS you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all the peoples on earth will be BLESSED through you.”
In the beatitudes from Matthew 5:3-10, Jesus gives us a glimpse of how we can participate in a blessed life. In other words, this is what it looks like to live as someone who is blessed:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
This is very different than what we learn in hashtag culture. Blessedness is about being poor in spirit, mourning, hungering and thirsting for righteousness, being merciful, pure peacemakers. Being persecuted for Jesus. Then we live into God’s blessing more fully.
Just take some time to read the Bible and you will see the word “blessed” occur over and over (particularly in Psalms). But, here is what I want you to know today:
God thinks you are significant, valuable, and worthwhile.
Pray and thank God for blessing you. Spend some time asking Him how your life would be different if you lived this definition of blessing.