I painted this 24” x 36” Acrylic last summer. It currently hangs on our living room wall surrounded by eleven other Ink-with-pen-and-brush pieces of various sizes. I think it works well with this week’s ‘Thought’—Blessing. Why? How I answer depends on the deer in the forest. Is she looking from the picture back to you and me, or is she looking away from us toward the light on the horizon? Is she looking back to 2019 or forward to 2020? Either way I see ‘blessing’ recalled from the past or anticipated for the future! How do you interpret the scene?
How often have you used the word ‘blessing’ in its various forms during the past week or two? I don’t recall either!
Let me ask the question another way: Were you ‘blessed’? Think a moment before you answer. What makes you say, ‘Yes, I was blessed’ or ‘No, I wasn’t blessed’? Was it something someone said, or didn’t say, to you? Was it something that happened, or didn’t happen, to you? Was it a feeling…a fact?
What is a ‘blessing’? I suspect most associate the six forms of ‘bless’ with religion and spirituality. The New International Bible translates certain Hebrew and Greek words with one form of ‘bless’ or another, a total of 428 times. The English word ‘happy’ is sometimes used in translating these Greek and Hebrew words. Might that suggest that when we say we are ‘blessed’, we are also meaning we are made happy? I think so. If not right away, more often than not, followers of Jesus will in time be happy and truly feel ‘blessed’ even if the event did not feel good at the moment. Romans 8:28 helps put this into perspective.
In last week’s Blog I shared I’ve started writing my ‘Memoir’. One story I share is how fifty-four years ago, Psalm 1:1-3 became my life verses and have appeared under my signature thousands of times in the last half century. I may share that story in a future Blog. The first word in Psalm 1:1 is “Blessed…”. At this point, my working title is simply Blessed! For my family and interested friends the ‘Memoir’ will be a way to chronicle many of the blessings I’ve experienced and give thanks!
One insight from Psalm 1:1-3, that came to me in 1965, is that the key to being ‘Blessed’ is not based on geography, titles or things material. But, on one’s relationship with God. I like the metaphor Bradley Hanson used in his book A Graceful Life.
“To live… by faith is to have a certain kind of relationship with God. It’s a relationship similar in some respects to that between you and a very close friend. Your friend knows you well, knows the significant events of your life, knows your good and bad points. But in addition to knowing you very well, your close friend also accepts you. Although aspects of your character are less than desirable and sometimes you act in hurtful ways, your friend forgives you. Another side of the relationship is that your friend will help you become a better person. Your friend will then encourage and help you do good, but will also challenge you when you hurt others. More and more, your friend and you will come to share certain values. You also do good things for your friend and present a gift from time to time. The reason you do these things is not to gain a friend. It’s because you are already such good friends and care for one another that you do nice thing and bring gifts.”
In John 15:15 Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
Verses 12-14 give the context. “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.”
“Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel
Of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers. “
My relationship with God through Jesus is to be Blessed!