Monday, January 4, 2010

Blessings

No, I haven't been gone for about two weeks. Who me?

Christmas was awesome -- and I claim Christmas as the past two weeks, by the way. Superman and I headed to New Orleans to see friends and family; I felt blessed.

Speaking of blessings...

(Yes, I know that was about the cheesiest transition possible. I'm okay with that.)

So we started teaching the twentysomethings class for real yesterday (first week was introduction, second week we had one person for our Christmas party, and then we were gone for two weeks). Not only did we have about eight people, but we started the book, "The Tough Sayings of Jesus." If you haven't read it and get the opportunity to do so, do it. It's mind-blowing.

Four sessions make up the book, and we're dividing each session in two because they're long, and we like to cover each part thoroughly. Yesterday and next Sunday are on the story of the rich, young ruler who asks Jesus what he can do to receive eternal life. I could get in to what we discussed yesterday, but I really want to talk about blessings.

What are blessings?

Dumb question, right? But I'm totally serious (and TOTALLY revealing my age right now). Here's what the author of TTSOJ says: most of us look at the materialistic things people have as blessings, i.e., if you are wealthy, have a nice house, have your health, you are blessed. In that case, the rich, young ruler would have been seen as blessed. But Jesus basically shows that, while he has all the worldy possessions he needs, the man is not blessed because his identity is based on what the world gives him instead of what Jesus gives him.

Okay, then, back to the question: What are blessings? Can they be material possessions?

I actually e-mailed our young adult minister to get a better feeling for this question, and I did some research on my own (and am seeking help from bloggy Christ-followers), and here's the non-materialistic answers I found:

Jesus (and subsequently, our salvation)
Wisdom
Deliverance from evil
Children
Hearing from God
Following God's ways (which has practical applications: If you don't do x, y won't happen)
Life eternal
Spiritual gifts

On first glance, I gotta admit, I was like, "Well, um, this really isn't going to help me pay the bills or get me a bigger house, etc." But then, I realized, "Oh, WAIT. These are BETTER -- these are blessings the world cannot give." (And, frankly, they're much cooler.) Not only that, but these are from our Heavenly Father, from whom all good and perfect gifts come. WOW!

Anyway, if you have any input on this subject, I'd greatly appreciate it!! And, once I talk with our young adult minister and do some more delving into God's word and find out more, I'll let you know! =)

9 comments:

Mari said...

Welcome back! I don't have much to add to this, except to say that as you get older you realize how much more important these blessings are than material ones. I see this especially where I work. These people are left with a tiny room to live in. I've taken care of people who were very wealthy, some big business people and one who had connections to Hollywood. They were much less happy than the Grandma who was a Christian, and loved her family. They loved her as well and they all knew their eternal destiny!

Brooke said...

happy new year!!! :)

to me material blessings represent what i truly want - that only Jesus can provide. security. protection. provision.

kara with a k said...

I'm going to have to read that book, it sounds good. Plus you got me to thinking on this whole blessings the world cannot give thing, which is always good to ponder on a dreadful Monday. Thank you for that.

Brittany Ann said...

I totally agree with that list. Those blessings are the ones that not only change our lives, but also change others; they even change the world, which is, in essence, what we are called to do as followers of Christ! So amazing!

Joanne@ Blessed... said...

My first time by. I wanted to give my two cents on "Blessing". The definition that has always stuck with me is: divine favor.

Whether it is spiritual, material, emotional, physical, all favor in my life as a child of God comes from Him.

..and this is what makes it divine!

God BLESS!

Growin' with it! said...

i just wrote a long letter to a friend yesterday sharing what God has done in my life the past couple of years. and at the end i looked at it and sighed...all those hardships and trials in life sometimes are blessings. they make us into who we are today and better tools for the Lord!

sara said...

I agree with all the comments. Those blessings you listed are far more important than the material ones. However, I do believe that God does bless us at times materially, especially when we use it to His glory and for Him. example, I feel like God blessed us with the house we are in. It is perfect for us and for entertaining....I see it as a blessing from God and there fore take every opportunity to use it to further His Kingdom....I don't hoard it for myself.

Andrea said...

I completely agree - some of the most godly people I know of are poor in material things. How do you say to them they are not blessed? Because really, they are. Our culture has made all aspects of our lives all about stuff and how much we have of it. God could pretty much care less if we have the biggest, newest TV and the nicest, most fashionable clothes. Those are nice and all, but they add up to nothing when you place them next to eternity with Jesus.

Rachel @ Future Pastor's Wife said...

I'm not ignoring you, I'm still thinking. I didn't want to just jot something down without giving it some thought. :)