You’ve probably all heard it a million times – “You’re blessed to be a blessing.” Maybe you’ve got that all figured out and know exactly what it means, but while in Africa with Bill I had to re-think a few things…

Bill spoke 9 times in 4 days to the missionaries of Gabon at their annual conference, specifically on the book of Ruth.  He made it a point to show that the first example of this dynamic of blessing can be seen in the relationship between God and us.  The Bible is clear that “every good gift comes from above,” every blessing in our lives is from God – they can all be traced back to His providence (not chance, luck, karma or fate) – and all of this is a product… of GRACE.  What is Grace?  Among other things, “It is that quality in God by which he gives, at his own expense, and without regard to our merit, that which we need most deeply and long for most desperately.” 

“You are blessed to be a blessing.”  I realized as Bill went on that this cliché didn’t just have to do with God giving me nice things for which I was responsible to be a good steward, in order to recreate an experience of blessing down the line for someone else – that’s part of it, but here’s a bit more.  God blesses us with food, with shelter, with clothes, with friends, with family, with forgiveness, with hope… and we bless Him by receiving it!  And that’s the dynamic we usually fail to recreate when we attempt to re-enact this experience for someone else.  We’re thinking that to bless, we must always give

“You are blessed to be a blessing.”  One reason I want to re-examine this phrase is because it can be used as a convenient smoke-screen by Christians who are great at giving… but terrible at receiving.  Yes, this can be due to genuine contentment or not needing what is being offered, but all too often it can also be due to deeper, root issues such as self-judgment, self-loathing, self-pity, self-absorption, or even a subtle pride that masquerades as self-sufficiency.

Remember your parents telling you each Christmas “It’s better to give than to receive” – true, they probably told you that to keep the peace and answer one of the many “why” questions you hurled at them as a kid, but the reason it’s a cliché is because it holds a kernel of truth, which in this case is that the giver always receives the greater blessing!  The simplest way to “be a blessing” is to receive something from someone else – to allow someone else to be the giver.  Boiled down, it looks like this – “If you want to be blessed, you give – but if you want to be a blessing, you receive.” Stop trying to deserve all the nice things God wants to do for you – you bless Him and those He uses by receiving it!  No “ifs,” no “buts,” no counter-offers – receive the compliment, receive the money, receive the thank you, receive the grace.  You are a blessing just by allowing yourself to be blessed.  What a thought!

Surrounded By Grace,

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*Grace induces faith & Grace is obligated to faith ~