Monday, June 15, 2009

Monday’s Ministry Musing: What Constitutes Blessing?

I hear the statement all the time: “The Lord really blessed us with ______”.  Here is my question; can I buy a yacht and say that it is a blessing from the Lord?  Is this the formula; make a wish, get what you wished for, then make it spiritual and okay by saying that it is a blessing from the Lord? 

mansion Well what about Deuteronomy 28?  Doesn’t that seem to be the formula in that text?  You do good you get blessing, you do bad you get cursed.  So, can we transfer this to our day?  Is my extravagant home, luxurious car, and our yacht a sign of blessing?  Or is it a sign of disobedience. 

Here is my take.  Look at the reason why God blessed Israel.  God’s blessing of Israel was not for the sake of Israel alone.  God’s blessing of Israel was so that they could in turn be a blessing to the nations.  What I am saying is similar to what Piper has said previously:

“Does not the OT promise that God will prosper the faithful? Indeed! God increases our yield so that by giving we can prove that our yield is not our God. God does not prosper a man’s business so that man can move from a Buick to a BMW. God prospers a business so that hundreds of unreached peoples can be reached with the gospel. He prospers a business so that 20 percent of the worlds’ population can move a step back from the [brink] of starvation…Too many people are shaped by the consumer culture than by the economics of Christ. They still operate on the simple rule: If you earned it, you deserve it. It’s yours; use it for your own material comfort.

”The evidence that many of our people are not rich toward God is how little they give and how much they own. Over the years God has prospered them. And by an almost irresistible law of consumer culture, they have bought bigger (and more) houses, newer (and more) cars, fancier (and more) clothes, and all manner of trinkets and gadgets and containers and devices and equipment to make life more fun”.

“The problem is not earning a lot. The problem is the constant accumulation of luxuries that are soon felt to be needs. If you want to be a conduit of God’s grace, you don’t have to be lined with gold. Copper will do.”

Living with gold-lined lives is not necessarily a sign of God’s unstipulated blessing, it may be a sign of your disobedience.  God may have blessed you with a six-figure salary, but he did not do it so you could have a six-figured salary life. 

What does this have to do with ministry?  Pastors can train people to think this way.  When sermons, prayers, and programs are geared around “meeting our needs” it is only natural for the people to find God’s blessing in materialistic prosperity.  It is our duty to preach in such a way that people are gospel-focused and not blessing-focused.  So, pastor preach in such a way that people find the greatest blessing in God Himself.  Furthermore, live in such a way that people see this modeled.

1 comment:

  1. I share a little noted and often ignored verse....Ephesians 4:28 "Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need."

    Read this verse in its context a few times. I find myself wondering if the thief is one who takes advantage of others for personal gain (stealing)....or is the he the one who labors to keep what he gets for himself? Furthermore, I wonder if this verse does not possibly imply that honest labor gains to give to those in need with the implication that dis-honest labor gains to keep and hoard?

    God blesses His people....
    1. For His name's sake
    2. So His people can be a blessing to others.
    3. So that His people can humbly experience the wonder of blessing and joyfully express appreciation to God for His touch.



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