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Day 12: “Blessed to Bless”

Why does God Bless us? Why is He so gracious to us?  What is God’s endgame?

MEDITATION

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.” – Psalm 67:1-2

REFLECTION

We ask God to bless us all the time, and when we have really messed up we beg Him for grace… And He gives it. Oh how freely He gives it! But why? Why does God choose to bless us and show us grace? Is it merely for our sake? Yes, He loves us, for we are His Beloved children and precious in His sight (1 John 3:1). Yes, His grace is sufficient and covers all of our sin (2 Corinthians 12:9, Ephesians 4:7). Yes, He is a good Father who wants to bless His kids with the best gifts (James 1:17). But God has an even bigger plan than merely blessing us individually and showing us grace in our personal failings. He blesses us so that we might be a blessing to the nations. He is gracious to us so that we might show His grace to all peoples of the earth. Our greatest blessing actually comes in joining Jesus as He renews all things.

So often we take the blessings God freely lavishes on us and leverage them to bless ourselves even more. Our individualism and self-absorption consume us so quickly, and without even knowing it we can become like spoiled children who are always looking for more for themselves. We act like lakes, ever hoarding the blessings of God and growing deeper and deeper in our own “flourishing” without much concern for the places around us suffering from drought.  We so quickly become closefisted with what God has entrusted us to steward for the sake of the earth knowing their Creator, experiencing His righteous ways and saving power. Sometimes this is driven by greed, or our consumeristic idols and materialism. Sometimes we just want to be comfortable here on earth in the midst of life’s storms and feel we owe it to ourselves. But a lot of the time I believe it is fear that drives our stinginess in sharing of our time, passions and resources with “the earth.”  We are afraid the blessings might run out, that God’s well might run dry. In his book “The God Guarantee,” Jack Alexander says: “Fear is a suffocating emotion. It leaves us feeling selfish, bitter, and disconnected from others. Scarcity is an offshoot of fear that makes us see the world as zero-sum, where anything you get means there is less for me. If I give some of myself or my resources, then there won’t be enough left for my needs.”  That is the lake mentality all of us struggle with.

God’s design is for us to live as rivers. He blesses us as His kids so that those blessings might flow through us and “water” the earth into the flourishing He designed it for. You see, God’s ultimate plan is not primarily for individual flourishing but for the whole earth to know His ways and His saving power. God is about renewing all things, and He empowers His people to joyfully participate in flowing His grace and blessings toward that end. He blessed Abraham so that in him, and all his family after him, the nations might be blessed (Genesis 12:3; 22:17-18). When Jesus, a son of Abraham, shows up and starts living for the sake of others instead of Himself, God’s face fully shone upon us, and we saw in Christ the full blessing and grace of God (John 1:14). In Christ, we bankroll a treasure beyond any worldly or material gain (Ephesians 1:2-3). When our ultimate treasure is in Christ, our lakes cannot help but open up into ever-flowing rivers of blessing and grace toward others.  As His face shines upon us, that precious face of our Savior, who poured Himself out even to death so we might receive grace and blessing, we are no longer afraid that God’s well might run dry. Fear and scarcity are driven out by fresh faith in God’s promises of abundance, and our hearts begin to overflow streams of living water (John 7:38). We who belong to Christ are also Abraham’s descendants (Galatians 3:29),  blessed beyond measure by God Himself so that the nations might “joyously draw water from the springs of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3), and God’s name might be made great on the earth as all the peoples praise Him (Ps. 67:3-4).

“Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” – Revelation 22:1-2

ACTION

1. Count the blessings of God He has given you and the ways He has shown you grace (unmerited favor).  Write them out and thank Him for them from your heart, for they all come from Him  (James 1:17).

2. How have you been living like a lake instead of a river of life to others? Ask God to show you the ways you are living out of fear and scarcity instead of faith and abundance in Christ. Repent and rest again in the grace, favor, and provision of God shining on you through Jesus. Do not be afraid! You are beloved and blessed and invited into God’s glorious mission of blessing the nations.

3. What is God telling you to do in response to this prayer time? How is God calling you to trust Him? How is God calling you to bless and show grace toward others today?

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