The Twist on Blessedness
The Twist on Blessedness
Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
1 Peter 3:8-9 (ESV)
Everyone wants to be blessed. The problem is that we often view blessings as our gain at other’s loss. We are blessed if we win the lottery. Of course, that means that everyone else did not, and we got their money. We even tend to think that for God to bless us, others must not be blessed. And even further, we begin to feel that we are only blessed when we have more good things happening to us than are happening to others.
This makes room for trying in subtle and even aggressive ways to diminish the success of other people to enhance our own position. We fight for advantage and use slander, gossip, and deception to diminish the glory of someone else, hoping that our own glory will shine. We obviously need a new perspective on blessedness.
Paul quoted Jesus as saying that it is more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35). Jesus is the most blessed person ever. He was all about giving. He did not regard his being equal with God as something to be grasped, but willingly gave himself for our redemption. He chose humility and desecration for our benefit. It did not diminish his glory, nor dim his intimacy with the Father, and he was exalted to the right hand of the Father ruling over all God’s possessions (Philippians 2:5-11). We must remember that it is his life that was given to us. We are living out the model and the substance of the life that faced suffering and death and came out the other side with victory.
We were called to bless. That is our vocation. Anything else we do must fit within that calling. We do not live for our own pleasures. We live for the glory of another and the benefit of all our companions. We are not necessarily living with a view to gaining a reward, though out destiny is filled with glory. We live to bless because that is consistent with our new life. We are not trying to get more when we are sure that we already have everything that pertains to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:1-4). Honor is not in short supply. We don’t lose when another is honored. We can join in the celebration. There is plenty for us. When our aim to bless is misunderstood and we suffer, we can endure because even our suffering can bless those who see the faithfulness of our God. We are privileged to share in this way with Christ’s sufferings. His kingdom always causes conflict when it confronts other empires. They love power. His kingdom has the power of love. Such empires of evil hate that love wins every time.
We can share joy with our brother Stephen as he was unjustly being stoned. There is always a Saul of Tarsus watching. We may die, but some bystander will be touched and used to carry on the strange and unshakable kingdom of love. What a blessing to be called to such a vocation.