when He doesn’t “bless”

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In yesterday’s post, I linked to this article…

The False Promise of the Prosperity Gospel

Reading and sharing this perspective prompted some great discussions all day long. One recurring theme that I have heard is this…

He blesses the faithful, so therefore, there is truth to the message of these, and other, prosperity preachers.

To that I say…”please define ‘bless’.”

We live in a very affluent culture in this country, and even Canada and Europe. Very. The North American Church (the collective Jesus followers) is a very affluent subculture as well. In our affluence, I fear that we have somehow equated this wealth with blessing. And thus, those who “have” have been blessed.

What about those who have not? Are they then not blessed?

This is where I wonder about our definition of “blessed.”

There are countless stories if those who have gone to the grave penniless and sometimes hungry and cold because they served faithfully the call God gave them. There are millionaires who served faithfully the call God gave them while neither being hungry or cold until the day of their death. Who did He “bless?”

There are even stories of those who go to the grave penniless because they squandered all they owned on creature comforts to serve only themselves. And, then there are some who have made millions and given it all while living as paupers. Who was more “blessed?”

It gets a little gray, doesn’t it?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9

Here’s the thing…He is God. I am not. Period.

Any other explanation makes it about me…
If I trust God more, He will “bless” me.
If I serve him more, He will heal me.
if I give him more, He will give me more.

Maybe…
maybe not.

Maybe sometimes you trust, serve, give… and you lose your job, your house, your health.

Maybe we live by the wrong definition of “bless.”

Quite honestly, this is where I think the prosperity preachers are wrong….

maybe “bless” has less to do with earthly things than any of us in North America realize.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ~Jesus Christ quoted in Matthew 6:19-21

6 thoughts on “when He doesn’t “bless”

  1. Great perspective!

    One of the reasons that Jesus was so hard on the scribes and Pharisees of His day was because they equated God’s blessings with material wealth. If Jesus is our supreme example, perhaps we ought to examine our personal definition of blessings in light of how He lived and the material “wealth” He stored up for Himself while on this earth!

  2. Heidi, this is the very thing I struggled with after returning each time from Haiti (and continue to struggle with). We can have such a warped idea of what blessings really look like. What if our “wealth” and “health” actually prevent us from looking to the Lord to meet our every need and therefore steal us of the intimate relationship he created us to have.
    On my last trip to Haiti, I actually talked to a young man who had been accepted to a U.S. university. At the time of my trip, he was set to leave the compound in two months. A few months later as I was following the ministry’s blog, I realized that he had never left the compound, but instead was choosing to attend college in Haiti. His reason as to why, was that he would was afraid that he would come to the US and forget what serving God really looked like and that he would never return to his homeland where he received so many of God’s blessings. Wow! Very convicting! I think we both know that God’s greatest blessings come from simply being in God’s will, wherever that puts us.

  3. I think you have hit the nail on the head, my friend. So many people, including myself at one point, think that he promises “a blessed life” of money, health and happiness. He promises many things in the Bible. Good and bad. Lots of money, perfect health and warm and fuzzy lives are not promised. No matter how many “works” you rack up.

  4. Blessing to me does not have to do with material things…………….I am “blessed” when God gives me insight into His Word. I am “blessed” when I meet new distant relatives who have loved the Lord for most of their lives and have So much to share with me, thereby enhancing my life in ways I never imagined. I was blessed when a dear lady offered to pray for my daughter and that knowledge touched my heart in ways I cannot expresss. I am “blessed” when a neighbor girl comes to help me with something difficult for my aching bones to do, just because she loves me. God loves me so much and that is the greatest blessing…………..His Son dying for my sins………….oh my…………cannot express the blessing…………….

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