We Americans have a peculiar idea of what being BLESSED means. We label things as "blessings" if they bring us happiness and pleasure. Our idea of blessed is very different from what Jesus calls blessed. When we think of blessings we often think of luxury items, but let's be humble for a moment and call our blessings the simple things like; a roof over our head, dependable transportation, a decently healthy body and a few days of happiness here and there. Many of the people Jesus calls BLESSED in the verses below are facing troubles that none of us would enjoy or label as blessings. As you read this portion of the Sermon on the Mount, observe who and what Jesus calls blessed. I believe the ending of this portion of scripture indicates why He calls these people BLESSED.
Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven...
"Poor," "Mourn," "Hunger and thirst," "Persecuted,"... HE CALLS THESE PEOPLE BLESSED?!?! What's that about? This is a long way from "Big house, Cool Car, Handsome Face, Honor-role Kids!" Why does Jesus call these people blessed? I believe He's driving us to a point! He sees beyond the here and now. He has an eternal perspective. Review that last scripture with me, "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in HEAVEN!" Where? In HEAVEN! He's working to draw our attention off of the momentary things of this Earth and onto things eternal!
If we would see with an eternal perspective we'd simply count our blessings very differently as much of what we currently call "blessings" wouldn't be counted at all! Our pursuits and priorities would change. What would change in you if you really lived life with an eternal perspective? What offense or pain would you get over that's been holding you down? Who would you forgive and what struggle would you move beyond? What would change about your daily living? What would change about how you handle the resources you have such as time, energy and money? There's NO QUESTION that we'd be more SELF-LESS if we lived with eternity in mind.
This is where we begin to do that. We remind ourselves that life is but a vapor even if we're here 100 years. We're just passing through on our way to eternity. Let's GIVE, LOVE, ENDURE, FORGIVE, & __(fill in the blank)__ knowing this life is but a brief test that determines our eternity. Jesus did... so we should as well.
We're getting BETTER! We're becoming more like JESUS!