Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” As parents, we want our children to trust that we are doing our best to provide for them. They are to focus on school and enjoying their youth. We want them to know we have their best interest in mind. Some of us even tell our children that the sky’s the limit. Just ask, and we will make it happen! As a child you naturally develop a sense of entitlement. After all, most things are given to you.
Even as adults, we have a tendency to take ownership in the getting and having of things, even when they are gifts from God. This creates the perception that we aren’t blessed. We go to work, pay our bills, don’t steal or cheat. We “pay our dues,” but in the same way as children, we begin to feel we are entitled to things. I earned them! I brought all these things! These are my accomplishments!
BEING A CHILD OF GOD
It’s funny how as we get older we don’t think of ourselves as “children” when we think of our relationship with God, even though the Bible clearly communicates this. Scripture tell us in Romans 8:16-17 that when we accept Christ, we become a child of God:
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Being a child of God is not the same as acting like a child or having a childish attitude toward what we have or are given. As children of God, we are loved and provided for by our Father in Heaven, but when we behave like children, we miss the opportunity to appreciate and properly allocate that affection and provision.
BEHAVING LIKE CHILDREN
Blessings come from God. We don’t deserve them and we can’t earn them. God gives such blessings because it brings him joy to bring us joy. 1 Timothy 6:17 (ESV) says, “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” What God provides, we should steward to the best of our ability and with thanksgiving. Don’t get caught up in trying to make things happen of your own merit. We are to work hard but also be humble (Col. 2:23). James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” Humility keeps our perspective on God and not on our own accomplishments.
In realizing all blessings come from the Lord, we can learn to pray “Thank you God for your blessings” not, “Please God send me a blessing.” We can appreciate more of what we’ve been given when we shift our perspective from give-me to gratitude. This can be a challenge. Sometimes it is hard to remember to mind our thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5). In Psalm 19:14, David cries out “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” We can pray like David when we remember that God loves us, his children. Even when we don’t know what to say or how to say it, we can trust that God will hear our prayers as they’re meant to be heard.
BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING
When God made the great promise and covenant to Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3 he said,
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Twice here God says we will be a blessing. And while these verses are a snapshot of God’s great plan and Jesus’ global mission to bring all peoples back to himself. What could this mean when it is related to material wealth or gifts from God? We are to be a blessing with our things because our things are given to us as a blessing. What we have should not lead to entitlement but to generosity. 1 Timothy 6:7 (ESV) says, “For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.” All things are from God; and God has given all things purpose. Consider the purpose of your things and either use them, share them with others, or pass them on to better someone else’s life. That is the purpose for which they were made. Don’t just cling to things for the sake of having them.
Psalms 19 reminds us that the Lord should be our ultimate focus. Following his guidance and direction, and honoring his Word and reputation are the things we should desire to keep hold of. These things are more desirable than gold and more precious than honey from a honeycomb. There is great reward in loving God. When we use the things that God has given us, such as money, time or talents to serve people or add to the enrichment of others, we are loving God, and using our things for his purposes, like Jesus Christ would have us do. It is in this way that we are blessed to be a blessing.
Being “blessed to be a blessing” also means helping someone and thinking beyond our own comfort or gain, not because it’s convenient but simply because God calls us to love others. Being a blessing involves not only the actions that we take with one another it’s the thought we put in to the action (1 Corinthians 13:3). James 2:8 says, “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well.” We can let go of our entitlement and trust God that all things are ultimately his and gifts from him. We can give without worrying about getting something back in return. We can give without getting praise or bragging rights. We can give without worry because as we learn from Psalm 71:21, that the Lord “will increase my greatness and comfort me again.” With confidence we know that God has blessed us to be a blessing.