A friend recently shared a post wherein the author adamantly insisted that Christians should immediately stop saying “I am blessed” when asked how we are doing, and we should stop referring to any material possession as a blessing, e.g. “Our new car is such a blessing.” He gave his reasons for making this claim – you can read his article here. I completely disagree with his reasoning and his conclusion. I am blessed, and here is why he is wrong.
First, the author says that calling any material goods a blessing “reduces The Almighty to some sort of sky-bound, wish-granting fairy who spends his days randomly bestowing cars and cash upon his followers.“ How so? It is a biblical fact that God is among other things, Provider, and that He promises to “add all these things” (food clothing, the stuff of daily life) to those who seek Him first. This doesn’t “reduce” Him to anything, it’s just a part of His nature.
Nor does God stop at the bare necessities of life, as demonstrated by His promise to Israel to “open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be enough room to store it” (Malachi 3:10) if they would only be faithful in paying their tithes. If the author calls that “positive reinforcement” well, apparently God uses it.
Furthermore, when Paul specifically addressed the matter of giving money for poor believers, he stated that God “who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion” (2 Cor 9:10,11). Here is a straight-up statement that God will materially recompense the Corinthians as a result of their generous giving, with the aim that they can be even more generous as time goes by. You can’t spiritualize this, he is talking about money.
But perhaps of more concern is the author’s second reason for insisting that we not say we are blessed: “It can be offensive to the hundreds of millions of Christians in the world who live on less than $1 per day.” In other words, since many Christians worldwide do not have the same level of material wealth that I do, I ought to refrain from giving God any glory for my own “blessings.”
There are several problems with this reasoning, not the least of which is that other cultures and communities measure wealth differently than we do in America. A mud hut with a tin roof and fifteen chickens is considered well-off in some parts of the world. Just because others seem impoverished by our standards doesn’t mean they have not been blessed by God.
Even in the most arduous of circumstances God may still bless with fresh water, a morsel of food, an article of clothing – whatever is available under those conditions. God can materially bless anyone, anywhere, and the degree of that blessing may depend, in part, on the surrounding circumstances and conditions. Does that mean that those who are in a position to receive more ought to not thank God for it?
This is important to understand: Our blessings from God do not come because of our own worthiness or God’s special favor toward us but not others. God blesses according to His will and purpose. Sometimes He does so in response to prayer or faithfulness. Sometimes He does so in spite of our coldness and faithlessness. And His blessings may be tempered by our earthly circumstances. None of that negates the fact of His blessing.
Regarding Jesus, it is certainly true that Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor,” because the poor tend to be more dependent and trusting of God for their needs, and God wants that from all of us. Still, some poor folks are thieves, cutthroats, and liars. Simply being poor does not, in itself, make one “blessed.”
Jesus also said, “Woe to you who are rich.” Yet some wealthy believers are very generous toward the poor or anyone who is in need. Simply being rich does not consign a person to suffer “woe.”
The bottom line is this: If we are to stop saying “I am blessed” then we must also stop thanking God for anything at all. You see, when we thank God for our food we are acknowledging that He had a hand in providing it. In other words, God blessed us with food.
When we thank God for our job, or our promotion, or our wife / husband, or our children, we are implicitly stating that God has brought those things into our lives, i.e. He blessed us with them.
Giving thanks to God for anything implies that it has come from Him, and therefore He blessed us in the giving of it. And that is the real truth of Scripture, that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights” (Jas 1:17).
The author is right about one thing: We will be called to account for how we have made use of our blessings. Those who have been blessed with much ought to look after those who have not. That is one reason God blesses anyone at all – to test their faithfulness and give opportunity to show practical love to others. Yes, I am blessed by God, and I am also responsible before God.
So don’t be ashamed to testify when God has blessed you. Give Him the thanks and the glory He deserves, acknowledge His generosity, and always be generous toward others.