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Bless you!

May 6, 2013

  
“Gonna change my way of thinking, make myself a different set of rules” – Bob Dylan – Gonna change my way of thinking (from the album “Slow Train Coming”)

Started reading “Jesus driven life” by Gerard Kelly, a travel guide to the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 – 7). It starts of course with what Billy Graham used to call the “Beautiful Attitudes” – the Beatitudes. You know all that stuff about various people being blessed.

We like to be blessed don’t we? As Keith Green sang “Bless me Lord, bless me Lord, you know that’s all I ever hear” We have a nice view of blessing. Bless me with healing and good health, bless me with  a successful career, a happy marriage, a beautiful home. And of course if we have all these things it is right that we acknowledge them as blessings from God.

But what are our priorities in life. Like the road sign I saw today that said “Changed Priorities Ahead”, Jesus turns our priorities and perceptions upside down. We use the word bless in such a mild way. God bless Mum, God bless the missionaries. How about this for a prayer? “O Lord please bless me with persecution, mockery, more persecution and lies”. Don’t hear that too often! Why do I get the impression that blessed means something different to what we think?

Others have tried to find a translation that works better. The Good News Bible used the word happy. And I always struggled with that a bit too. I could never really get around the sense of the verse “Happy are those who mourn.” However I think that through, it sounds like a contradiction in terms. Although Jesus calls us to rejoice even in the face of persecution. And of course in the Book of Acts we’re told that’s exactly what the Disciples did in the face of suffering. So maybe there is something in that, as unnatural as it sounds.

To me it seems that to be blessed is to know God’s pleasure and satisfaction. You live in this way and God will be pleased with you. And when we Christians think about it what better motivation could we have?

I once heard this taken further. I believe it was RT Kendall who was quoted as having translated the word blessed as “congratulations to”.

Picture the scene at the awards ceremony. The red carpet is laid out and the achievers are there to receive the rewards of their success. The rich and famous, the successful, the beautiful, the record breakers, the fastest, the top sellers.

But then God hijacks the celebrations and reads out the prize winners and passes out their rewards:

CONGRATULATIONS to the poor in spirit – yours is the kingdom of God!

CONGRATULATIONS to those who mourn – You will be comforted!

CONGRATULATIONS to the meek – you will inherit the earth!

CONGRATULATIONS to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness – you will be filled!

CONGRATULATIONS to the merciful – you will be shown mercy!

CONGRATULATIONS to the pure in heart – you will see Me!

CONGRATULATIONS to the peacemakers – you are my children!

CONGRATULATIONS to the persecuted – yours is the kingdom of heaven!

And the special life time achievement award:

CONGRATULATIONS to those insulted persecuted and the lied about. Let’s start the party!

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From → Christianity

One Comment
  1. Excellent!

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