If you read anything on social media: Facebook, Twitter, whatever, you will see that people are claiming to be blessed. Married = blessed. Baby = blessed. New job = blessed. New house = blessed. Family time = blessed. On vacation = blessed. And on and on. These things definitely seem like what we have come to know and call being blessed, but I wonder if those things actually equal being blessed.
I live in the United States and I have way more in material goods than most people in the world. I have a house that is fully furnished, a car, clothes, and plenty of extras. My house always has necessary projects to be done; my furniture has been bought at garage sales or given to me; my car is not as big as I want; my clothes are usually bought on sale; and many of my extras have come second-hand. I don't have the biggest or the best, but I have plenty and would fall into the blessed category. But I honestly wonder if these things are blessings or not.
I just read the first chapter of 2nd Thessalonians and it once again made me wonder what being blessed really is. Verse 3 "We ought to give thanks to for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing." That all sounds really good, and honestly makes me think they're blessed people, but then comes verses 4 and 5. "Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. This is evidence of the righteous judgement of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering."
So being persecuted means being blessed? Well maybe or maybe not, but being persecuted and being steadfast and faithful; and back to verse 3, faith and love are growing abundantly is being blessed. How do I know that these things are blessings, because of this wonderful line "This is evidence of the righteous judgement of God, that you may considered worthy of the kingdom of God..." Because of the persecution they endured, and the ensuing growth of faith and love towards others they have been judged worthy of the kingdom of God. That is the ultimate evidence of being blessed.
(Side-note, did you notice the word "judge"? That seems to be such a bad word to many Christians, these days. But He still judges and we need to be prepared to be judged.)
Back to the whole premise of this post. I would love all the things that many of us, particular American Christians, call blessed. I would love a husband to celebrate anniversaries with; babies to love on and brag about on Facebook; and all the other trappings we called blessed. Who wouldn't? More than that, I want to be blessed because I have been found worth of the kingdom of God. So often in the Scriptures we see evidence that going though trails and suffering, with faith and love results in the ultimate blessing of being worthy of the kingdom of God. That is being blessed.
Below is one of my favorite photos that I took while in Haiti. It reminds me that others live differently and that she may be more blessed than I am. Because she may has more opportunity to come through her suffering with faith and love for others.