Earlier this week I posted a question on Facebook:
If I could offer you your choice – if you’d just come to church just once – of either $1,000 or a blessing from God, would you come?
I got a few responses, but one friend, Michael Wheeler, decided to probe a little, asking if I could define what a “blessing” actually is.
The answer seems obvious, but how do you define “blessing”? That word is thrown around with no real meaning. – Michael Wheeler
I gave a typical tongue-in-cheek response:
True. I know a thousand dollars would surely BE a blessing right now
Michael followed that response with how that he had asked “countless pastors and laypersons who overuse that word to define it, but have never gotten a satisfactory answer.” He then went on to say that the use of the word “sounds good,” but carries with it “no real meaning.” “Other than salvation,” he proposed, “we have no other ‘blessings’ or promised things over what unbelievers experience.”
Well, in fun I replied to Michael Wheeler’s question with:
Do you even own a box of crayons?
As expected (because Michael is usually a very serious kind of guy), he answered with:
Nope… Is that the extent of your definition of “blessing”?
That is when – after a brief distraction – I wrote the following:
No, not hardly. I got distracted by other things. I only asked that because sometimes I feel like you see things only in black and white – not as in truth claims, but in what you see. For instance, I never read fiction, but then I read “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”…it added color to the pallet of my spiritual imagination. Lewis didn’t teach me any new truth, but he added shades of color to what I could already see.
Much of what I would call “blessings” are those moments when the Spirit opens the eyes of my understanding and allows me to see the beauty of a Truth in a new shade. In some ways, it’s like God takes me into His art gallery and amazes me with a new painting of the same scene. I’m speaking in terms of spiritual imagination, of course… the box of crayons.
We are blessed every day by the goodness of God. That goes for everyone who enjoys the providential care of the Creator (it rains on the just and the unjust). But we are also blessed in that we have a Father who not only gave us salvation but continues to give us bread instead of stones. He is the one who will one day bring us close to Himself and share with us that little white stone with a name on it only the two of us will know – that’s true intimacy. So, many blessings are no less than those moments when we enter into worship – corporately or privately – and sense the real presence of the Holy Spirit reassuring us of the truth that He will never leave us or forsake us, that His grace is sufficient for every need. I could go on and on.
If I had the time to sit down do a more meticulous study of the definition of “blessing,” I’m sure you’d find the result more satisfying to your particular taste. However, what I’ve just described for you is the practical and real-world look at how I see it. Simply put, many times getting a “blessing” may be nothing more than being brought the realization of how good, merciful, and gracious our Father is. If He throws in a thousand dollars, well, that’s a bonus.
“Excellent answer,” wrote Mr. Wheeler.
That’s why I thought it would be worth sharing with you!
What do you think? How would you define a “blessing”?