Why is it that blessings are often so hard to keep in the forefront of our mind?
When an unexpected blessing comes our way, we are delighted, surprised, often flattered or we feel undeserving.
“Oh, you shouldn’t have…” we say.
“I don’t really deserve this, but thank you…” we respond apologetically.
For a brief moment the blessing, whatever it is, takes center stage and the world seems somehow a better place.
We like to hold on to moments like those.
But the emphasis here is on the “brief moment”, for it isn’t usually long before “the world” does its thing to us again, and we find we can’t “hold on” to it for long.
The blessing that was so vibrant becomes obscured or forgotten in the crush of other things that scream for our attention, our resources, or our energy.
It seems this way in the scriptures as well.
The bible talks a lot about blessing. God is blessing folks right and left with long life, freedom, a land flowing with milk and honey, “descendants as the stars in the heavens,” a name that will stand forever, “a child born unto you in the city of David”…etc.
You can’t turn a page in the bible without running across some form of “blessing” taking place or other. The word “Blessing” or “Blessed” itself is used over 400 times.
Of course, you also can’t turn a page in the bible without coming across something troubling, or difficult to understand, or a story about something that rends your heart and disappoints.
The failure of a character, from Adam to Abraham; Moses the Murderer to Peter the betrayer.
Or a picture of God that puzzles, us, that seems out of character with what we hope God to be.
“Wait, God was that wrathful? God killed the firstborn, sent his chosen people into exile, used a foreign power as a “rod” of punishment, and sent his own son to the cross?”
Maybe the picture of blessings layered between all the awful stuff should be our clue as to why blessings seem so ephemeral and fleeting to us.
Maybe the real issue is that thought that we need to “hold on” to blessings.
It’s not so much that the world “does its thing” to us to rob us of our blessings. It might feel like that sometimes, but truth be told, most of the “troubling things” in this world of our own doing, and they usually stem from us holding too tightly to something.
Human pride, greed, arrogance, forgetfulness of God’s call upon us to live as beloved — all those things enter in and make us forget about God altogether.
Those are all actions of “holding on.” Holding on to our pride, not wanting to share, holding on to our own self image, holding out for something from someone, some recognition, some gesture.. “I will after THEY do such and such….”
Blessing is the agent that God seems to pour into a troubled world to overcome this world, and to overcome our own natural tendency to hold on or hold out for something.
“You shouldn’t have…” we might say to God.
“I really don’t deserve this….” we might protest to God’s abundance, grace and blessing.
But that is precisely the point, for while God maybe shouldn’t have, and we don’t really deserve anything more… God pours blessings in anyway, and trying to “hold on to them” is our primary mistake.
God pours blessings into this world to “Prime the pump” a bit, and then God waits to see if we will catch on, and do what God has shown us how to do, to pour blessings out on others as well.
God’s cue to us is that blessings are meant to flow. They are meant to pour forth from the source of joy, love and hope that God is for us.
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow…” we sing, and maybe someday we will learn how to be good conduits for those blessings to flow even further.
You have been blessed, now pour it forward.