Finding Your Blessing
I do not remember the exact context, but several weeks ago one of the airy-voiced DJ’s on our local Christian radio station was speaking about a difficult week that she had recently experienced. She spoke of what I consider to be very standard worries involving widely normal life scenarios; akin to perhaps a broken washing machine. Let’s make sure we understand each other: no one was being martyred for the cause of Christ. No one was under intense persecution out of retribution for the preaching of the gospel. No one had been accosted, jailed, stoned, or hanged. It was just a “hard week” in the typical, American, “I was actually inconvenienced” sort of way.
Nothing at this point in the between-song time killing necessarily bothered me, other than it being the sort of casual on-air chit chat that I do not turn my radio on to hear. But then, in the midst of her attempt to express the sheer dissatisfaction of her recent suburbian “burden” she ended her comments with the assessment, “I just haven’t found my blessing in this situation yet.”
Are we being serious, here? You haven’t found your blessing in this generously candy-coated non-issue?
This frustrated me on several levels; the first of which was the very obvious lack of ground from which to complain. While I am certain this young lady had a genuinely difficult week by comparison to what must be her normal posh circumstances, it kills me to hear Christians – whose forefathers were dipped in oil and burned to light Nero’s gardens – hint at some lack of blessing in light of what the rest of world history would consider very mild inconveniences at worst. But, hey, we all get a bit whiny at times and fail to appreciate our ridiculously low-maintenance lifestyles of privilege. The true frustration for me in this doctrinal Freudian slip lied in the underlying presumption of it all: that somehow God will necessarily seek to further venerate almighty man in every life circumstance.
Somewhere in her training, this girl was taught that in every hardship God has a special blessing – for her – waiting to be discovered. This is the quintessential Word of Faith message: that God provided an elevation of man through Christ’s work on the cross. Health, financial security and fruitful, joyous frolicking are thus granted in the atonement. Christ died not only for sins, but to restore man to his great fortune before the Lord. This is the mentality that inspires Rod Parsley to affirm that “to live from paycheck to paycheck is to deny the power of the gospel.” (God’s Answer to Insufficient Funds, 1992 p. 46) It causes Joyce Meyer to say, “Giving doesn’t cost, it pays!” (Daystar Spring Share-A-Thon, March 2, 2004) with the understanding that a financial blessing awaits those who give to the Daystar Network. It is this attitude which the self-proclaimed grandfather of the movement spoke of when he retorted that God, “wants His children to eat the best, He wants them to wear the best clothing, He wants them to drive the best cars, and He wants them to have the best of everything.” (Kenneth Hagin, Sr. (Quoted by D.L. McConnell, A Different Gospel p.175)) Perhaps Jesus and the apostles should have mentored under Hagin themselves. They certainly had it all wrong if Hagin was right.
How sad is a life, purportedly in Christ, which is lived for the glory, stewardship and servitude of none other than self over all else. How pitiful is the cry of modern Christianity to be searching for “my blessing” in the most trifling of hardships; a reward thought to be earned for the paltry inconveniences that our grandparents – let alone our forefathers in the faith- would have laughed at enduring.
I wonder if Stephen would have lamented, “I just haven’t found my blessing in this yet,” had he lived through his stoning at the hands of the enemies of Christ? Perhaps those great men of faith in Hebrews 11 should have pined for their temporal blessing in the midst of being stoned, tortured, sawed in two and killed by the sword? Perhaps Paul should have complained when he was given a thorn in the flesh – instead of a blessing – to keep him humble in 2 Cor. 12.
Or, perhaps these men knew what the modern church has forgotten; or have ignored.
If you are having trouble “finding your blessing” as a believer in Christ, then remind yourself that you were once DEAD in your transgressions and have been made ALIVE in Christ. Such is the greatest blessing one could envision; and is inconceivably more than you deserve; granted by grace (which means you couldn’t earn it if you tried). What more could anyone who truly understands the gospel want?
Your blessing is that your sins have been atoned and you are not held accountable for the payment of eternal death which you owe. Your blessing is that you have been assigned a treasure in Heaven, where moth and rust will not corrupt, nor will thieves break in and steal. Your blessing is that you will one day rise with a new glorified body which is impervious to sin and corruption. Your blessing is that you will one day WALK on more gold than even Benny Hinn can muster in this lifetime.
Your blessing is Christ crucified. How dare any of us to relegate His blood to anything less than the eternal glory it provided!
Philippians 3:7-11 (ESV)
7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.