Christian, are you blessed? Now sit back and think of why you answered “yes.” Did you have any material things on your list? You know, things like your house, car, or funds in the bank.
The Sermon on the Mount starts with what is commonly called the beatitudes. It is a list of people who are blessed by God. The first nine verses of the sermon begin with the word “blessed” (Matthew 5:3-11).
Nowhere on the list is “Blessed are the rich,” “Blessed are the famous,” or “Blessed are those with large houses and expensive cars.” Okay, cars were not around in Jesus’ day, but I am sure you get the point. Maybe, Jesus would have said, “Blessed are those with fancy chariots.”
King Solomon’s wealth was vast; silver was as abundant as stones (1 Kings 10:27). With that in mind, it is hard not to stare at the driveway and only wish.
Later in life, as Solomon looked at his vast wealth, here is his conclusion – “I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards: I made me gardens and orchards, and I planted trees in them of all kind of fruits: I made me pools of water, to water therewith the wood that bringeth forth trees: I got me servants and maidens, and had servants born in my house; also I had great possessions of great and small cattle above all that were in Jerusalem before me: I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasure of kings and of the provinces: I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts. So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me. And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the lobour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:4-11).
Solomon, in his day, was the wealthiest man on earth. He looked out at all his mass wealth and proclaimed it worthless.
Now, looking back at the beatitudes, anyone can see that the true blessings lie in the condition of our soul.
The poor in spirit understand their position before God. God is holy; we are sinners. God is infinite; we are finite. Without God, we are unable to exist. He provides the air we breathe, the ground we stand on, and gravity to help us stand on said ground. He is everything, and we are nothing. The poor in spirit possess the kingdom of heaven. This heart attitude will rely on God for everything. They will understand that God is in control and make decisions accordingly. They are blessed because they live life inside God’s will. God is the King of their life.
Those that mourn are comforted. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and gives the Holy Spirit to everyone washed in His blood. The Holy Spirit is the Great Comforter (John 14:16).
The meek inherit the earth because God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5, James 4:6).
Jesus told us that if we seek, we will find. Here He tells us those that hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled (Matthew 5:6). Many Christians are empty in their Christian life. Christianity, to them, is similar to joining any social group – attend meetings, socialize a little, and help out when you can. The problem is Christianity is a lifestyle rather than a social club. Everything changes with the Holy Spirit living inside us (2 Corinthians 5:17). When we long for righteousness, God will give it to us because He is our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30).
The merciful shall obtain mercy. Calling this karma is wrong – it is God granting blessings to His children based on what is in their souls.
The pure in heart shall see God. A pure heart has been washed by the blood of Christ. A pure heart is a saved heart. The saved shall see God (Job 19:25).
The peacemakers shall be called the children of God. God is the Prince of Peace. The peacemakers are those children of God where the apple does not fall far from the tree.
Lastly, blessed are those persecuted for the cause of Christ. They can rejoice when persecuted because they know their reward is massive, and they are following in the footsteps of the prophets before them.
Christian, are you blessed? If not, the problem is not God.
Preacher Tim Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. His weekly column “Preacher’s Point” may be found at: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com