I often find myself using the word blessed. I suspect that we might use this word too casually. We are blessed when we get a pay raise. We are blessed when we have a series of warm pleasant days. We are blessed when a new healthy baby arrives in our family. We are blessed when we see our children making responsible decisions and then those decisions lead to preferred outcomes. We generally use the word blessed in the context of receiving something we desire. It’s often the way we say “I got something I wanted.”
Luke, the author of Acts, quotes Jesus as saying, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.” These words from Jesus would indicate that both receiving and giving are blessings; however, we are limiting our blessing when we hold on to what we have for ourselves. It would also suggest that perhaps blessings don’t primarily have to do with getting what we want. It would seem that being blessed is more about seeing God at work in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
Is living a blessed life simply random good fortune, or is there something we can do to foster seeing God at work in and around us? I firmly believe that we play an important role when it comes to how we experience God. We experience more of God when, in response to His grace, we take the spotlight off ourselves and shine it on others. Being generous with our time, talent and money naturally focuses our attention on others. In The Message, Eugene Peterson paraphrases Matthew 5:5 this way: “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are – no more, no less.” When we don’t need to be in the spotlight, it’s easier to shine our light on others.