“What a Blessing!”

David Brown of Abbot Hall in Dunfermline said to me yesterday:

“A lot goes for blessing that isn’t blessing.”

That is so true.  Let me give a few examples that came to me as I thought about it.

The “Feel-Good” Speaker

A speaker gets up and speaks to a large crowd, saying that if people become Christians, they’ll feel better about themselves, they’ll have better relationships, God will heal their sicknesses, and they’ll be better off financially.  He doesn’t mention anything about sin, judgment, or Christ’s death on the cross.  He doesn’t mention that salvation means a new life lived to God, or that Christians face persecution and trials.  Then, he asks who wants to be a Christian, and hundreds respond. 

A lot of gullible Christians look on, saying, “God really blessed!”  But what really happened is that someone preached a false Gospel and it tickled the ears of a lot of people.  It might “go for blessing” — but it isn’t.  The speaker got a crowd behind him.  That’s great — so does Lionel Messi (a top football player), and his fans will be more committed in devoting time, energy, and money to supporting their hero than most of the fans of this “preacher.”

The Christian Businessman

He’s been in business for years, and his products have a strong reputation.  He finds a way to save money with inferior parts on one of his products.  He figures it isn’t dishonest.  The warranty is for five years, and the parts should still last seven to eight years rather than the fifteen years that the expensive ones lasted.  So he makes the change.  He doesn’t cut the price, just the quality of the product.  He saves money on production costs, and in a few years he’s making more money on the sale of spare parts, as the inexpensive parts wear out.  When he goes to church and someone asks him how business is going, he says, “God is really blessing.”

If making more money is “God blessing”, then men like Richard Branson and Larry Ellison must be really righteous people to get so much of God’s blessing….

The Wandering Wife

Her husband has never cheated on her, but he’s sometimes selfish and insensitive, and she decides she would be happier with another man.  She says that she has prayed about it, and feels it is God’s will for her to divorce her husband and marry the new man she has met.  They get married, and her new husband is kind and considerate.  Her friends ask how she is doing, and she says, “God has really blessed me.”

Maybe Elizabeth Taylor was one of the most “blessed” woman in modern times.  Or maybe someone went and got what she wanted, contrary to God’s clear Word, and now she feels good about getting her own way.

Spiritual Blessing

Just because a sportsman talks about God and has some success doesn’t mean God is blessing.  Just because a lot of people are in a church building doesn’t mean God is blessing.  Just because people walk out of church on an emotional high doesn’t mean God is blessing.  Excitement isn’t blessing — you can get that at a sporting event or a concert.  Just because the preacher’s sermon (or blog post) was mentally challenging, or taught you some interesting facts about the Bible that you never knew before, doesn’t mean God is blessing.  Intellectual stimulation isn’t blessing — you can get that from an atheist’s writings.

God has blessed us “with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:4).  Too often, Christians leave out that word “spiritual” and insert “financial” or “physical” or “emotional” in its place.  We adopt a twisted view of what real blessing is, and why we have it.

Mr. Brown was correct:

“A lot goes for blessing that isn’t blessing.”

About Jon Gleason

Former Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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2 Responses to “What a Blessing!”

  1. Larry Epps says:

    That was a tough post Jon, but it certainly had the “ring of truth” to it. You are so right, we often take prosperity, emotional highs, or “getting our own selfish way” as a blessing from God. Being blessed by God is to live according to God’s will in humble obedience; doing the right thing even when it hurts or costs. Doing so brings God’s peace, favor, and ultimately brings glory to God. Could we say that bringing glory to God is one sign that we are being blessed? Or am I reaching here?

    Again, thank you for your honesty and for bringing up this hard topic. It was sobering but needed.

    Your Friend,
    Larry Epps

    • Jon Gleason says:

      Hi, Larry. I wasn’t trying to be “tough”, but I see what you mean. Good comments.

      If we love God, then we should want to bring glory to Him. If we want to bring glory to Him, and that also pleases Him, then to do so is true blessing. I don’t think you are reaching at all.

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