Editor’s Note: Have you ever written a post only to find out that someone else just beat you to it? A day before I wrote this one, Scott Dannemiller wrote, “The One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying” at Huffington Post. A Google search of Biblical blessings led me to the same Bible verse Dannemiller used in his piece. His, I’m sure you’ll agree, was better written than my version, so I hope you’ll read it as well.
I hear Christians use the phrase “I’m feeling blessed” all the time, and the majority of those times, I want to cringe, because our secular view of feeling blessed doesn’t match up with God’s.
This particular day is a strange one for me.
On this particular day, I’m wrapping up one job and on Monday, I’ll be moving to another one. It’s a position in a different department but within the same television station, so I’m not moving to a new city. In fact, I’m just moving from one end of the building to the other. This new assignment will be focused on the station’s efforts on the web, certainly a growing aspect of nearly every kind of business these days.
The other day, a co-worker stopped me in the hall to congratulate me on the change and said, “I bet you are really feeling blessed.”
To be honest, I was feeling blessed. And humbled. And grateful. And just a tiny bit terrified. (I think that’s a good thing, though.)
But for some reason, possibly because God knew I hadn’t yet drafted an idea for this week’s faith post, that phrase gnawed at me. It dawned on me later in the day that I was feeling blessed in a secular way, not a Biblical way.
I know exactly what my co-worker meant when she made the comment. I’ve said the same thing hundreds of times to people who’ve received some form of good news or another.
But I was beginning to ponder a deeper meaning of what a blessing is and what it isn’t.
The secular form of feeling blessed means feeling exceptionally fortunate or lucky. Sure, I have skills — partially coming from this blog and associated digital activities and community building I’ve pursued over the past few years — that I can already bring to the table. I already have a reputation at the station. And while I am most certainly not the greatest thing since sliced bread by any conceivable measure, I’m someone they knew well enough to be able to imagine me being able to handle these new duties.
When I say I feel fortunate, I don’t mean to imply there’s no reason my bosses shouldn’t trust me in such a role. It’s just that I feel fortunate that they are willing to.
Some people say they are “feeling blessed” when they get approved for a mortgage. Others say they “feel blessed” when they get a good deal on a new car.
There are any number of material things that leave people “feeling blessed” when fate and luck combine to give them a positive outcome.
But the Bible’s view of being blessed is quite different. And from a secular point of view, it’s not remotely attractive.
Jesus explains, in Matthew 5:1-12 what it means to be blessed in God’s terms. It involves terms like being poor in spirit, in mourning, meek, hungry, thirsty and persecuted. Those are the people who are blessed, because those are the people who will inherit the earth, be shown mercy, see God and inherit their reward in Heaven.
Being blessed has nothing to do with getting a better job, passing a test or avoiding a traffic jam.
We say it the wrong way all the time with the absolute best of intentions. Once in a while, though, it’s important to put the word in God’s perspective rather than our own.