Thanksgiving is only a few hours away. We are passed counting down months, weeks, and days. It seems like a lot of people share the same sentiment – BLESSED. How are you feeling? Are you blessed? Are you blessed to read this blog post? I know I am.
Blessed is a word we use a lot in the church. We use it almost as much as grace and love. What does it really mean? I’ve sat in services, listened to sermons about doing this or that, and I will be blessed. I thought . . . really? I typically hear this rhetoric from white, well-dressed, great hair, perfect smiling pastors. What about the tension of life? What about a pastor just laying it out and sharing the struggle of his life or the life of the church he is leading.
A major shift, in the church, is coming in the next 10-15 years. As boomers retire, Millennials will fill 50% of the USA work force and 75% of the global work force (source). Not only is there a major shift in work force, there is always a major shift in generational thinking.
What does this have to do with “Blessing?” The Boomer generation values work, loyalty, family, autonomy, and is fairly hopeful for the future. It’s not a stretch, for boomers, to use the word “blessed” as a means to rally their churches. Millenial’s value creativity in work, not particularly loyal to a company, value community, and can be uncertain about the future. This may cause a generational misunderstanding behind the word – Blessed. While Boomers says it with a smile on their face and a song in their heart, Millennial’s question the authenticity.
What does the Bible say about blessing?
What is blessing?
To be truly happy.
In Scripture, blessing can be defined as being truly happy. (1 Kings 10:8) The queen of Sheba had to meet Solomon for herself. Because of Solomon’s wisdom, She broke out in praise and was truly happy that not only she, but everyone under his leadership was blessed.
People can be blessed because of your wisdom. They want to be truly happy under leadership that has a certain element to it that can’t be found in other people.
A quality of life.
I don’t know if you know anybody like this, but there are certain people who seem to have “life figured out.” Do you know what I mean? There is a confidence paired with humility.
I think there are people like this because Deuteronomy 33:28 is true: “Blessed are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord? He is your shield and helper and your glorious sword. Your enemies cower before you, and you will trampled down their high places.”
There is tension in this Scripture. The tendency, for a lot of folks, is to think that Christians are selfish, arrogant, and stuck up because they have God on their side. Nothing could be further from the truth regardless what main stream media may portray. (Further reading: Proverbs 3:13, 6:20, 28:14, 30:18, 32:20)
A battle for our hearts and bones.
What we feel blessed by or whatever grabs our attention, we tend to worship or at least ascribe meaning to that thing. In the Scriptures, nothing was more important than securing a blessing from God. Everyone wanted blessing from their Deity. Ephesians is a great example of this. The goddess of Ephesus played a major role in how people thought of blessing. If money was good, job secure, family healthy, she must be blessing them. So much of Paul’s instruction, to the Ephesians, was to tell them they were not blessed by the goddess of Ephesus.
Jesus was their God. The idea was this – The more powerful the Deity, the more important the blessing. There are a lot of strong influences, in our lives, that folks may have a difficult time walking away from. Maybe the church needs to be reminded that our blessing does not come from socio-economics, health, wellness, family, etc.
The core of a Christian’s blessing is driven deep into the heart of the Gospel – the cross. We need not go beyond the Gospel as if to say the cross is the 101 of Christianity. Rather, we need to go deeper into what Jesus has for us at the cross.
Maybe there isn’t a generational gap after all. Maybe we have two generations standing on opposite sides of what “BLESSED” means. It’s possible the Millennial generation hears, “I am blessed” and thinks – “Tell me more about that?” Think about what social media does to us. We always mean more than what we say. Which tweet would have more depth and meaning?
- “I am blessed.” – The retired Boomer
- “I am blessed.” The young determined Millennial
The tension, that is life, allows anyone to ascribe meaning to their life. It also allows them to vocalize their source of blessing. Regardless of age, may we never grow weary going deeper and deeper into the Gospel and may we always be willing to engage with a culture that is being entertained by lesser deities than Christ.