he #Blessed phenomenon that appears all over social media these days has both its followers and dissenters. On the one hand, we can argue that in hashtagging “blessed” we are simply giving thanks to God for what we have or what we’re currently experiencing. But what does this message convey to others who are struggling to receive these same blessings and are not? If one person is #blessed because she’s just had a baby, is another woman not blessed because she’s still struggling with infertility?
I have been guilty of assuming my blessings are because of my obedience and own good works. For example, I have financial provision because I’ve been a good steward of my money. My kids offer to help the homeless person on the street because I have raised them right. I get the job because I have developed my talents well. When I announce any of these things under #blessed, I’m not really thanking God. I’m really saying, “Thank you, me. For being the type of person who gets it right.” (Jonathan Merritt, Learning to Speak God from Scratch)
I am vulnerable to pride. I like to take credit. But at the beginning of the idea of blessing is actually the root of humility. A blessing was something received while on your knees by someone of higher standing than yourself. As this sinks in, I realize that everything I have is really two things: from God and not to be hoarded.
“I have experienced far more richness in life through suffering…”
If I believe I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, I’m not really achieving anything on my own. If I believe that I’m supposed to consider it all joy when I experience trials of any kind, why would I act as though I can ward off suffering with good behavior? I have experienced far more richness in life through suffering than I ever have coasting by and having everything aligned superficially.
Here are 5 blessings God gives us to enjoy that you can freely give to others, too.
1. His Word
There’s something miraculous that happens when God’s Word makes it from our head to our heart.
Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
As we absorb the meaning behind the Scriptures, we uncover the depth of God’s great love for us and our own depravity. We recognize how short we fall, but how far God’s grace goes to cover us. This is one gift we cannot keep to ourselves!
“…we must be so careful to use God’s Word in the way He intends it.”
We get to communicate to everyone around us that no matter how much we mess up, no matter how it seems as though the world is out to get us, no matter how much we fear, there is a God who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-loving. This is like having the most decadent piece of cake, getting to eat as much as we want, and still having tons left over to share.
The truth is, though, we must be so careful to use God’s Word in the way He intends it. God’s Word is wrapped in grace, truth, and love and we must share it with those three components always in conjunction.
“How sweet your words taste to me; they are sweeter than honey.” Psalm 119:103
2. His Presence
God loves to be invited. He loves to show up in any and all situations, which is why we were given the incredible gift of His Holy Spirit. Whether we are celebrating or weeping, God wants to be in every emotion with us. He would not ask us to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice (Romans 12:15) if He would not also do the same.
If we believe that He never leaves us, we can be confident that no matter what we experience, He is there. But when we are struggling, when the suffering is intense, it’s easy to lose sight of Him. Even when things are good, it can be easy to forget His role in our lives and that all these gifts are truly from Him. But when we offer to pray with those around us, we can invite God’s spirit in so that we might all remember who He is and whose we are. God’s presence will always change us for the better—no matter our circumstances.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20
3. His Grace
One of the things that compels me to forgive, to smile at the lady standing in my way at the grocery store, or to think the best of the person who just cut me off in traffic is how many times people have done the same for me. But even if they never did, the truth remains that Jesus always does. If I am called to love others as He has loved me, this means I get to show the same grace He affords me to others.
“Grace is something not of this world.”
In our society today, sometimes I think we operate as though we are still in the Old Testament times—an eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth—except it’s more like kindness only after we’ve been shown kindness first or giving only after we’ve first received.
Grace is something not of this world. When we give it away (because we know what it’s like to desperately need it from Jesus), we look different to the world. We are acting as though we truly are set apart—holy.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34
4. His Gifts
My youngest daughter’s love language is receiving gifts. It’s evident not only by how she responds when she receives, but even more in how she prepares to give. She puts tremendous time and effort, not only in picking out the perfect gift, but also wrapping it. Isn’t this just how God also operates? He gives us spiritual gifts and talents. He wraps them lovingly in our physical bodies, and we in turn use these gifts to bring blessings to those around us.
I know sometimes we are afraid to use what He’s given us. There’s fear of failure and rejection, but when you think of how He’s not only equipped you, but also designed you to use these gifts in conjunction with Him, it seems rather selfish to keep them from the world.
“In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” Romans 12:6-8
5. His Compassion
The father showed compassion to his wayward son (Luke 15:11-32). Jesus often looked out over the crowds (Matthew 9:35-36) and seeing their great needs, was motivated to feed them, teach them, and heal them because He was moved by compassion. When He sees us struggling and hurting, he is also moved by compassion for us. This is why He brings to us His comfort and provision—He is moved by our needs.
What a blessing to serve a God who cares about each and every one (1 Peter 5:7)! And because He shows great compassion for us and our needs, we can also have compassion for others and their needs, as well.
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36
What #blessed really looks like:
If I’m being real, my #blessed would have been the caption under the picture taken when in the hospital with my husband because his auto-immune disease spiraled out of control. It was there that we saw people care for us in ways only prompted by the hand of God.
Perhaps another #blessed would fit as I sat in my recliner a few months ago with a catheter attached to me for two weeks. It was there in that stillness that I learned my worth was far separate from my works and that I was loved even when all I could do was occupy a small chair in my living room.
“Whether that moment is of great joy or of great suffering…”
The real #blessed is not about us at all. It’s a posture of “only because of God’s great mercy am I able to be in this moment of time.” Whether that moment is of great joy or of great suffering, we know that this ability to live and breathe and experience will in some form is a way to have greater connection with God—if we let it.
As we grow deeper into our relationship with Him, we recognize the importance of sharing this with others. If we truly believe it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35), we will not be able to contain this blessing unto ourselves.
Knowing that nothing God has for us will ever run dry fills us with the encouragement to give away what He gives to us. We can give abundantly as He gives abundantly, knowing He is faithful to supply all our needs.