I'm currently doing a study on the Sermon on the Mount and decided to take a look the Beatitudes in the Message tonight. I often find it interesting the way the Message puts things because sometimes it makes think differently about what was written, especially about a passage that is so familiar…
When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:
"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are—no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought.
"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat.
"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full,' you find yourselves cared for.
"You're blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you discover who you really are, and your place in God's family.
"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom.
"Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.” - Matthew 5: 1-12
Definitely not the normal description of what our society calls blessed. And definitely not the kind of circumstances that typical people would want to find themselves in order to obtain a blessing. Probably because the concept of being blessed is quite contrary to the blessedness that we can have in Christ. Even as Christians, we use the words blessed and blessing all the time. But what sort of blessing are we referring to? A religious saying posted in a frame? The white picket-fenced American dream? A new car? Full stomachs on Thanksgiving? I don't think that was the sort of blessing that Jesus meant the day of the Sermon on the Mount. It was something so much deeper, something only found in Him.
No blessing on this earth can compare to knowing God. He sent His Son Jesus to the cross, to take on our sin and pain, so that we can experience what it is to be truly blessed. Know that if you're at the end of your rope or if you've lost what is most dear to you or even when your commitment to God provokes persecution, you are on deck to be blessed by God. He is the greatest blessing and we are blessed to bless His Name.
Come, bless God, all you servants of God!
You priests of God, posted to the nightwatch in God's shrine,
Lift your praising hands to the Holy Place, and bless God.
In turn, may God of Zion bless you— God who made heaven and earth!
- Psalm 134
Are you blessed?
Praying you will be...