MORE GRACE, MORE BLESSED? - P7
“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man” (Luke 6:22).
On the topic of Grace in the Christian life (the second definition - the blessings, encouragement, support, strength, comfort, joy, etc. that God gives Believers in their walk), we look up to those we see as “blessed” by God. We think they are superior in their standing before God because of the grace they have been given to do “great” things for God. After all, as Christians, we grow up aspiring to be like “The Giants of the Faith” - famous and well-known Christians (for better or for worse) like Luther, Spurgeon, or ten Boom, to name a few—people who we think did mighty works and miracles for the church, put God’s stamp on the world through their efforts, etc.
In the shadow of these men and women, many Believers fret that they just aren’t measuring up to their full potential. This is assuredly true for all of us redeemed sinners (indeed, that is the meaning of sin - “missing the mark”!), but we need to be careful that we are not worshiping false idols. The important thing to know is that if you belong to Jesus, God is working through you in your life for His glory and for your future inheritance. Scripture is clear about that. You may not fully understand how this is so now and that is okay. You may not realize that the mighty labor God has given you is (or will be) through your relationship with your mother, father, brother, sister, friends or coworkers. Sometimes, we overlook what is (or will be) right in front of us, or feel the work we have been given is insignificant or beneath our potential. Similarly, what passionate Christian doesn’t think more highly of the mission field in South Asia where people are “saving souls” in contrast to their own situation, taking care of a screaming infant’s dirty diaper.
In Scripture, there is a counter-argument to the assertion that the “Great” men of the faith are more blessed than the anonymous who “wasted” their potential—a balance point to the idea that it is “gifted” and “accomplished” Christians who are filled with grace to overflowing in their labors and trials. Jesus makes the case that it is not the famous or known people who are blessed, but those ground out of existence in the dirt of the world that are truly blessed—those who are faithful, yet ignoble and unknown—those who remain anonymous and unappreciated in their adherence to the Word of God and their faith in Him: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:3-4). “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me” (Matt. 5:11).
Indeed, He told His Disciples, “Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed” (John 20:29b)! He said this to the mighty Apostles who spoke and ate with Him and did amazing works in His name—people we aspire to be only a fraction of! This is the opposite of what we all think, which is, “How blessed is the man who walked with Jesus in Israel and heard His voice and touched His cloak!” In a similar way, we don’t think that the mourning are those who are blessed, do we? And we don’t think Isaiah was blessed who wound up sawed in half, but “as an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We count those blessed who endured” (James 5:10-11a).
It is in the lives of the weak, tired, worn down, crippled, and oppressed that God’s blessing resides (a future reward, inheritance, and crown). This is all said in the broader picture that the blessed in this life are not those who are rich or poor, mighty or weak, accomplished or unknown, but as Jesus said, “blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it” (Luke 11:28), regardless of their situation. Adhere to the Word of God and observe it in faith, and you are blessed.