The One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying

Slide1

I was on the phone with a good friend the other day.  After covering important topics, like disparaging each other’s mothers and retelling semi-factual tales from our college days, our conversation turned to the mundane.

“So, how’s work going?” he asked.

For those of you who don’t know, I make money by teaching leadership skills and helping people learn to get along in corporate America.  My wife says it’s all a clever disguise so I can get up in front of large groups and tell stories.

I plead the fifth.

I answered my buddy’s question with,

“Definitely feeling blessed.  Last year was the best year yet for my business.  And it looks like this year will be just as busy.”

The words rolled off my tongue without a second thought.  Like reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or placing my usual lunch order at McDonald’s.

But it was a lie.

Now, before you start taking up a collection for the “Feed the Dannemillers” fund, allow me to explain.  Based on last year’s quest to go twelve months without buying anything, you may have the impression that our family is subsisting on Ramen noodles and free chips and salsa at the local Mexican restaurant.  Not to worry, we are not in dire straits.

Last year was the best year yet for my business.

Things are looking busy in 2014.

But that is not a blessing.

I’ve noticed a trend among Christians, myself included, and it troubles me. Our rote response to material windfalls is to call ourselves blessed.  Like the “amen” at the end of a prayer.

     “This new car is such a blessing.”

     “Finally closed on the house.  Feeling blessed.”

     “Just got back from a mission trip.  Realizing how blessed we are here in this country.”

On the surface, the phrase seems harmless.  Faithful even.  Why wouldn’t I want to give God the glory for everything I have?  Isn’t that the right thing to do?

No.

As I reflected on my “feeling blessed” comment, two thoughts came to mind.  I realize I’m splitting hairs here, creating an argument over semantics.  But bear with me, because I believe it is critically important.  It’s one of those things we can’t see because it’s so culturally engrained that it has become normal.

But it has to stop.  And here’s why.

First, when I say that my material fortune is the result of God’s blessing, it reduces The Almighty to some sort of sky-bound, wish-granting fairy who spends his days randomly bestowing cars and cash upon his followers.  I can’t help but draw parallels to how I handed out M&M’s to my own kids when they followed my directions and chose to poop in the toilet rather than in their pants.  Sure, God wants us to continually seek His will, and it’s for our own good.  But positive reinforcement?

God is not a behavioral psychologist.

Second, and more importantly, calling myself blessed because of material good fortune is just plain wrong.  For starters, it can be offensive to the hundreds of millions of Christians in the world who live on less than $10 per day.  You read that right.  Hundreds of millions who receive a single-digit dollar “blessing” per day.

During our year in Guatemala, Gabby and I witnessed first-hand the damage done by the theology of prosperity, where faithful people scraping by to feed their families were simply told they must not be faithful enough.  If they were, God would pull them out of their nightmare.  Just try harder, and God will show favor.

The problem?  Nowhere in scripture are we promised worldly ease in return for our pledge of faith.  In fact, the most devout saints from the Bible usually died penniless, receiving a one-way ticket to prison or death by torture.

I’ll take door number three, please.

If we’re looking for the definition of blessing, Jesus spells it out clearly.

     Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him, 2and He began to teach
them, saying:

     3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

     4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

     5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

     6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.

     7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.

     8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

     9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.

    10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

     11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matt 5: 1-12)

I have a sneaking suspicion verses 12a 12b and 12c were omitted from the text.  That’s where the disciples responded by saying,

     12a Waitest thou for one second , Lord.  What about “blessed art thou comfortable”, or  12b “blessed art thou which havest good jobs, a modest house in the suburbs, and a yearly vacation to the Florida Gulf Coast?”

     12c And Jesus said unto them, “Apologies, my brothers, but those did not maketh the cut.”

So there it is.  Written in red.  Plain as day.  Even still, we ignore it all when we hijack the word “blessed” to make it fit neatly into our modern American ideals, creating a cosmic lottery where every sincere prayer buys us another scratch-off ticket.   In the process, we stand the risk of alienating those we are hoping to bring to the faith.

And we have to stop playing that game.

The truth is, I have no idea why I was born where I was or why I have the opportunity I have.  It’s beyond comprehension.  But I certainly don’t believe God has chosen me above others because of the veracity of my prayers or the depth of my faith. Still, if I take advantage of the opportunities set before me, a comfortable life may come my way.  It’s not guaranteed.  But if it does happen, I don’t believe Jesus will call me blessed.

He will call me “burdened.”

He will ask,

“What will you do with it?”

“Will you use it for yourself?”

“Will you use it to help?”

“Will you hold it close for comfort?”

“Will you share it?”

So many hard choices.  So few easy answers.

So my prayer today is that I understand my true blessing.  It’s not my house. Or my job.  Or my standard of living.

No.

My blessing is this.  I know a God who gives hope to the hopeless.  I know a God who loves the unlovable.  I know a God who comforts the sorrowful.  And I know a God who has planted this same power within me.  Within all of us.

And for this blessing, may our response always be,

“Use me.”

* Writers note:  Since I had this conversation, my new response is simply, “I’m grateful.”  Would love to hear your thoughts.

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1,160 Comments

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1,160 responses to “The One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying

  1. jenniferlarsonwrites

    Scott, I’ve struggled with this too, so I’m glad to see you bringing it up. Have you read Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel by Kate Bowler yet? She spoke at Westminster last year and was really terrific.

    This discussion also reminds me of the way that some people seem to view prayer. If you pray for something, you’ll get it, is the way that it seems to go. If you didn’t get something, you must not have prayed hard enough. Whereas I feel that it’s better (okay, not the best word there, but stay with me) to pray for patience or for compassion, rather than a thing itself.

    So, yes, I really like the idea of saying “I’m grateful.”

    • Thanks for the comment, Jennifer. I am guilty of seeing prayer like a “blessing ATM” sometimes. My buddy just texted me that he simply prays for strength and grace to deal with for whatever comes his way. I like the sound of that. And I imagine God does, too.

      • Angel

        You’ve mentioned some good points, but I believe that EVERYTHING I have, every ability, every talent, ALL of my money, my home, my car, everything I have belings to Him, even my children.

        I will continue to give HIM the glory for them all. HE chose for me to live in North America and not a 3rd world country. I give Him more credit for everything in my life He has either “allowed” or “orchestrated”. He has a plan, He knows my name, He actually cares about even the little things in my life.

        We who live in North America have been blessed, the Bible tells us that whoever supports Israel, Abraham’s covenant, will be blessed. We need to look at the bible as a whole, otherwise we are all living in sin by holding any wealth of any form and not selling it all and giving it to the poor.

        Does blessing always look like materialism? Absolutely not, it comes in many forms. I think that giving God the glory for all that you have shouldn’t be wrong. Is it a “blessing”? Like you stated, it’s splitting hairs.
        And I don’t believe that God works on the “reward” system for doing good. You reap what you sow, God’s rule. Or look at Job, God allowed his testing, then “blessed” him with much more than he had before.

      • A B

        You said in this article, “The truth is, I have no idea why I was born where I was or why I have the opportunity I have. It’s beyond comprehension.” We most certainly do know why we are born where we are born! The Scripture cannot be more clear and precise about this issue, “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us” [Acts 17:26-27].

      • The blessed martyr, Balthasar Hubmaier,
        http://wp.me/p3tGFm-3N

      • Don

        That means you “spiritualize” every instance where Jesus literally says, “Whatsoever things ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them” or “If you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” or “Ask anything in my name and I will do it” or “Everyone who asks receives.” God is not a worldly ATM, but He has shown in the ministry of Jesus that we may ask for ANY good thing (not out of greed or selfishness or immorality) and we will receive it, if we believe. Jesus gave a very “unspiritual” example of this when He cursed the fig tree and said we could do the same “if we believe.” I take Jesus to mean what he says all the time, not selectively based on someone else’s theological opinion. Read God’s Word and believe it – period – if you want to see the miraculous become common in your life.

      • I just stumbled on this post, and it’s now months later so not many people will see this, but I’m inspired to add my two cents. I have a friend who I believe has the best response. Instead of “Definitely feeling blessed.” his response is “I’m doing better than I deserve.” I say amen to that.

      • Libba

        I have thought of this much more with the growth of the “mega” churches. I have listened on TV and attended several services through the years. It seems they use very little scripture unless it concerns a blessing and the general theme of the sermons is the same as one I heard on the radio many, many years ago. I can’t quote it exactly and I don’t remember who said it but it went something like this, “them that gives is them that gets. Remember, nothing from nothing leaves nothing and if you don’t give nothing, you don’t get nothing so send in your money today and I know that God is going to bring you a blessing!” That has stuck with me for over 40 years now and it seems little has changed.

      • Cheryl Powell

        Everything in this article is nothing more than another liberal attempt to keep the One True God hidden away to make the unbeliever comfortable. No thanks!

    • Deb Henning

      Well, you’re right, of course. But, “I’m blessed,” beats, I’m lucky, I think. At least if you believe that all good things are a good gift from a good God . .
      . . But gratitude is certainly the appropriate response to all good things. Thanks for this.

    • Scott’s point is sound and I admire his ability to express it in such a compelling manner. My view on the subject differs from his. I believe Jesus spoke about me at the beginning of his lesson in Matthew 5. Before I was born, God knew I would be poor in spirit. I live in a constant state of moral bankruptcy. I do not deserve the richness of family, friends and career, but I believe God is using these gifts to encourage me, refine me and lift my spirit until the day when I will be with him, full of his spirit. Therefore, these “comforts” are undoubtedly orchestrated by God and good, bad, or indifferent, I must profess them as blessings.

    • Jon

      This article was sent to me by a friend and it is one of the best articles I have read. You are right on in my opinion. I was once teaching on the Beatitudes and was contemplating the antithesis to these teachings of Jesus when I realized they were already done in Luke’s version. Rather mind blowing when you stack it up against the way we follow Christ today.

      I have had a similar thought about why was I born in such an affluent nation. I have worked with the persecuted church and it stands in stark contrast to the church in the west. I figured God placed His most faithful servants where the cost is the highest as a challenge to my convenient religion. Thanks for your words! Jon

    • helldoesntownme

      Thanks so much for this post. Life has dealt me some horrible pain & despite much resistance, I’ve been blessed to see them as gifts. No matter how I feel about the food, the company or the decor, it’s all banquet & the best party there is. God is good all the time.

    • Lianrene

      Just to throw it out there – I learned a long time ago to never pray for patience. For God to give you patience you must be put in a situation where patience is required. Most of the situations you need patience for are rather stressful and that in itself is what most people are trying to avoid when they need pray for patience. I, instead, pray for grace to wholeheartedly accept the situation I am in – good or bad – and know that prayer and faith will get me through whatever is in front of me. Just something a very wise man once told me.

    • Angelica

      Thanks for this article – spot on! Loads of sense. I’ve learnt this in a very profound interesting way recently. Was studying about blessing and been trying to change my thoughts to be more positive about God being kind after a lot (more it seems) of challenges in life. I’ve found a lot of things very hard.. Moan moan… I don’t normally pray for ‘blessing’ and this one day recently I decided to do that…. I really prayed… I also wanted the blessing that day by the way lol. I even felt excited that God would do just that – my faith was so full… I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was going to be wonderful…
      A few hours later on my country walk I got very lost on some secluded cliffs, fell down two crevasses and had to stay over night on the side of the cliffs. No mobile phone coverage. Prayed all night it wouldn’t rain. It’s a miracle it didn’t rain in this country (Ireland). I got back eventually (feeling surprisingly unwell, I always thought I was a hardy country girl) but the worst blow was getting mobile coverage and a bunch of pretty sterile text msgs all demanding something from me of course. ‘Will ye… Will ye’…bla bla The western world is rubbish.
      Funny that a couple of days before I’d been reading a study on Psalm 23! There are no coincidences with God. Where it says ‘I will fear no evil’, on reading that, I’d thought ‘no way I’d be afraid. All those fearful rubbish Christians around here do my head in with their moans and scaremongering,’ yet there I was ACTUALLY IN THE VALLEY of those cliffs – ‘sore’ afraid, my stomach wretched. I even dared to ask ‘why?’… before my spirit chided telling me – I’d chosen that ridiculous path myself, not God!
      Anyway, this is the second time in my life that I honestly believe that God changed the weather specially for me. (If you were there under that sky and those cliffs you’d understand how and why I believe that). I felt very sorry for homeless people… yet 3 of the most remarkable (and successful) Christians I’ve met lived on the street before.
      I’ve been wrestling for many years with feeling very oppressed, unloved, lonely, rejected and I lack in confidence as a result. God, the good shepherd, protected me and opened my eyes to a lot of very harsh but also wonderful and amazing realities of who He is to actually GIVE ME the faith I so very much need. So true what you say about blessing and I don’t think I’ll ever REALLY understand this fully but what we DO KNOW for certain is that God rewards FAITH. FACT (Heb 11.6). Also – ‘I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord’. This is what keeps me going. You just have to believe, you just do. Also, I think I will ask God to bless me again… You never know.

    • Dale Dorsett

      I agree that many times we say things it is to bring more glory to ourselves than to God. Where I disagree is on faith confessions. How we state that confession sometimes may be wrong but we may be right in our efforts. Let me explain.

      The Body of Christ is us – we the believers. He wants all parts to follow the orders from the Head, Jesus. Imagine a body where the arms go in different directions wildly and the feet also. A pitiful site. When we ‘do our own thing’ we can, and often do, dishonor God.

      When Jesus left the earth He said that the Church, body of Christ, would be endued with power and that we would do all that He did and much more. The power that Jesus used came from the Holy Spirit and because the Holy Spirit dwells in us we have the same access to God’s power that Jesus did – power that flows from faith and from obedience to the will of God.

      Let’s take healing! We are healed whether we experience it or not. “By Jesus stripes you WERE healed.” He did that for our healing. Healing is not just physical but of the whole man – physical, spiritual, psychological, etc. Physically, we should only need doctors to point out problems and then when we know the problem get the elders of the local Church body lay hands on us ‘and the prayer of faith will raise you up’. There is no doubt that Jesus endured those stripes to heal us all. However, if we are not walking with God we can’t have the faith to see it manifest. Also, I find, most American Christians have more excuses and lack of faith – no wonder most would not live if there were no doctor around. Lack of faith of course is not the only reason – toxins put in food and water don’t help. It is like with aspertame that destroys brain cells and is the most toxic sugar substitute on the market. You can hardly find a non-sugar cold drink that does not have it, thanks to the American Medical Association that either wants to wipe us out, is creating work for doctors, and/or is making a lot of money from large corporations.

      What is confession? Jesus is my Lord is a powerful claim that is impossible to always live up to if you connect you. Jesus is Lord and I want to follow Him is more proper, though the other may be your confession of desire. If it is how God looks at it, it may be true. If it is how man looks at it, it may appear to be hypocritical. Are we to please man? No! We should please God! God would only be displeased if we were focusing the attention on ourselves (in context of what we say and how we act) rather than to glorify God. For the sake of the understanding of the ignorant, who probably understand little to nothing spiritual, It can be a point to criticize us. For their wrongly motivated and ignorant minds it would be better to say “Jesus is Lord” rather than “Jesus is my Lord”. — You can’t please man and God but perhaps how we relate what we say can clarify things so Satan can’t use ammo that we give out against us. Personally, I could care less as to whether people like or dislike what I say as long as God is pleased, but for the sake of the lost and baby Christians, I try to watch my words so they don’t get the wrong impression – though many want to find fault.

      So you see, if one is bold enough to speak of the Lord, especially using faith or faith confessions, Satan has it rigged to shut you up or keep you from using faith.

      I choose to use faith. Faith pleases God. There is nobility that when one is at the bottom of the ditch to declare “God is quite able to deliver me” and then see the deliverance manifest like with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo when King Nebuchadnezzer had them thrown into the fire that was so hot it killed the people stoking the fire. The King saw a forth man in the fire. They came out without smoke even on their clothes, nor a hair singed. Such faith really is trust. So trust and faith are synonymous. Because they trusted God, even when things seemed hopeless, they were delivered. Now if they had been displeasing God and bowed before the statue of Nubuchadnezzer then they would not have seen God move and be recorded in the Bible so glowingly.

      Faith does please God. So do we make our feeble attempts to please God and see Him move with power and might or do we please the world and act as pacifiers and world changers? If faith in God (trust in God) does not distinguish us from the world then why is it fought so much by the world and by most Church’s? — Simple – faith in God honors Him and because we act in faith and see God move in our lives and in others then the world sees a difference between us and others.

      When in obvious pain from an illness, to say ‘I am healed by the stripes of Jesus’ – we may sound to others that we are lying, though we are speaking the end result based on scripture. So we might say, ‘my confession, regardless of what I see and feel, is that by Jesus stripes I was and am healed.’ Same thing but with more clarity to those who hear your confession. Both statements please God because of our trust.

      One point about faith and scriptural confession. It is what we believe inside and how we obey God and how we treat others – forgiving others of wrongs that lay the foundation for God to manifest healing or the object of faith that He placed in you. The other issue is God does not act fast often, so patience and persistence in confession is essentially. Essentially, if you desire to please God and are walking in obedience, though not perfect – but standing in Jesus perfection, then one will see what God promised.

      In summary, we can tailor our words to be understood more clearly but we must not tailor our faith and desire to see God be God for our sake and for others. Our faith becoming manifest by God brings glory to Him and focuses the world to consider that God is real. The only thing that is greater than hope and faith is love – a different message. Let’s say that if the world saw Christians loving one another and inviting them to join our Family, we could not house the people that would come to church’s.

    • john

      Hi all
      I see it like this:If Jesus is my life, then I have everything I need for any situation. I don’t ask for stength because His strength is made perfect in my weekness. Jesus is my life. (Col.3:4)

      • dale

        The concept of just floating through life is simple and has a wisdom of its own But, there are challenges and we need to confront those challenges and problems soberly by 1. recoginzing what is going on by facing and evaluating it 2. petition God for the solution – this connects our trust in God to the problem or situation 3. Let God guide you, He may want you do do something, if not don’t act blindly and keep trusting Him 4. Do all that He tells you to do and don’t do what He tell you not to do (obey and listen to God only) 5. Once you got yourself out of the way enough to really trust God then let go – “casting ALL (not a few) CARES on the Lord for He cares for you.” 6.Keep your problem on the altar and the cares far from you (cast to to toss away as far as you can) and PATIENTLY TRUST GOD —- If it is not your problem it is His, Why? You petitioned Him to act. He may act anyhow providing you really trust Him, obey Him , and let go faithfully but God gave you a brain and told us to ASK, not assume. Tooo many avoid confronting the problem, seeking the solution in God and assume that just because they ignore it, it will go away. Faith confronts the problem, sizes it up by God’s standards (looks small then) and trusts God to do it in His time and not in our time. Trust TRUSTS like a child that will jump off a high porch just because he trusts daddy and dad says ‘jump, I will catch you.’ You better trust and not play mental games and you better not trust who you thought was God and deceives you and you splatter on the ground when there are are no arms there to catch you. God does not play tricks, he gave us a brain, a will, and wants to give us the solution that He will back by His power if we are looking at and trusting Him only.

    • Mac

      Deuteronomy 28 tells you that if you do this… God will bless you. You can’t even outrun the blessings. They will overtake you. It’s His command. If you give you life to Him, everything that comes your way is to teach you, bless you, cause you to depend on Him. The footsteps of a righteous man are guided by the LORD. To say, it is wrong to say you are not blessed in the things that come your way is to say YOU are in control of your life, you are the one who blesses you, in your own decisions, in the Job YOU got, in the things you have acquired or not. In this way, you are becoming your own god. You are in control, He is out of the picture. When any of of come down with a dreaded disease, we instinctively turn back to God for His help. We can’t defeat the disease, but God can. The doctors may say, it is beyond us and give you a death sentence, but God can heal you. It is much better to have a lifestyle of depending on God during the “good” times rather than wait until the bad times to call on Him. If you belong to Him, like it or not, you are blessed daily. There’s a scripture that says, “LORD, don’t make me rich so that I forget you and don’t need you. Don’t make me poor so that I curse you. Just give me enough to cause me to depend on you.” (paraphrased) I, for one, disagree with what the writer is saying, “That Christians should stop saying I am blessed.”

      • Greg

        Are you considering that Christians have more bedrooms in their homes than they know what to do with? That they have more processed food than their family will eat? That their hot tub God provided is only used 6 times a year? That they complain about a car that is more than 2 years old because their “Christian friends” aren’t impressed, or that it doesn’t have the latest GPS information, so they actually need to think (pray???) for directions instead of complaining about how that crazy “woman” sounds on their GPS? That they still have sex as much as they can stand, but complain about the responsibility of raising the children God gave them through their prayers (that they were obviously praying during intercourse)?

        It’s a wonderful thought that God blesses us. Does God bless Hugh Hefner? If not, what’s the difference between us having sex and making babies we can’t afford, buying cars and houses we can’t afford, eating things that we know cause cancer and other problems, and praying about it; vs. Hugh who doesn’t ask for anything from God, yet gets more than God’s followers can imagine??

      • Mac

        Scot, I am replying back to the email you sent to me personally. After hearing what you wrote back to me, I’m sorry I even commented on your page. I saw your post on a friends facebook page. I don’t believe I want any further conversation with you after your reply. You must have been hurt pretty bad in the past and you’re still blaming it on God. You’ve become a very damaged man. I ask that you don’t respond to me anymore.
        Mac

      • daledor

        Absolutely correct. Satan tries to get strongholds in our lives to destroy us. He instigates the problem and then gets us to blame God if we are not careful.
        There are stages: 1. misunderstanding 2. resentment 3. bitterness 4. hate
        To help with our degeneration Satan will come to us with thoughts that we think are ours just to deceive us/con us. He does imitations of God also. A real scuzz ball. We think the thought are ours – and this gets us more and more upset. We may be even be upset with ourselves for having such a thought, which may have been Satan’s thought planted in our head.
        These stages drive people apart and put a wedge between us and God.
        Recognizing our part in our problems and others parts in our problems we can see that God is not the source of our problems but instead He is our strength, refuge, strong tower, joy, peace, etc. When we do wrong, God does not rant at us, He reasons with us not to condemn us but to encourage and help us get back on track with Him. He always has our healing in mind and getting us back on the right path in mind and lives.
        Only Satan, and those like Satan, are the accuser of the brethren, slanderer (what Satan means), hater of our soul. —- God is our best Friend, eternally. If one thinks God is the problem then they are blaming the wrong god and wrong people. God does not want us to condemn ourselves even, we should feel wrong if we are wrong and make it right or ask Him to help us make it right.

      • If I could not handle much riches, much whatever, without getting between me and God I don’t want it and God won’t give us something that divides us and Him or each other.
        God would give us all great abundance if He could trust us with it. Much riches in this world is by evil doing, especially in the New World Order global banking community-super thieves who want to rule all the world.
        I won’t say “make me poor” or “give me just enough to get by”. Why? God is a God of abundance and if the whole world of individuals could handle riches to help the Kingdom of God – bless each other and help each other – then all could be rich if they are diligent in doing what He instructs them to do. He backs the faithful/trusting people to bless people so they can be a blessing, not a depository of greed.
        It would be an insult to God as a child of God adopted into God’s family by Jesus to turn down any good that God has for me. I am a sinner saved by God’s grace but lifted up to the Heavenlies, not because of who I am or what I can do but because of WHO HE IS. —- If your dad was a King would he want you to live like a pauper? Absolutely not!

        “If you being evil (tendency to do evil) do good for your children, how much MORE does the Heavenly Father do GOOD for THOSE who love and trust Him?” Get it down, poverty, lack, sickness, destruction, depravity, worry, fear, etc are NOT OF GOD but from Satan and a fallen world.

        Also, NO CHRISTIAN or member of Adam’s race is WORTHY of God’s blessings. God blesses and desires to bless because of His great love for us, not based on anything in us but our willingness to trust Him and believe His Word. There is no good thing that He will withhold from those who love Him and love others in His power and strength (vessels overflowing with His love for us- pouring it out to others as God directs).

        There are those who use choice words to appear humble and contrite yet are full of pride and religious like the scribes and pharasees – use a false humility. Some say about themselves, “oh, I am just a worm” to impress religious people of their humility. We can act like worms, free will, but if we are born again of God we are not worms because God is not a worm. We are remade in the image of God, lifted into the heavenlies with Jesus. If we do wrong, confess it to God first and change paths. We are to be IMITATORS of Christ not of the world. It is a growth thing. First we have to renew our minds and remind ourselves of WHO WE ARE in Christ Jesus. We can’t have pride and boast because our goodness, our Salvation, our help all are of God. We just enjoy the ride and imitate Jesus doing what He wants us to do, not to please mankind.

      • Wisely stated! One should want what God wants for them and not be greedy and lustful. It is the love of money that makes it evil. If one loves God first and uses money as a tool and will not focus on money but on God and doing His will, God can trust that person with much because he/she is faithful with little.
        I will give you a clue, any Christian can handle abundance if their focus is on God, staying close to Him, and not let money get in the way. Money can be a great tool or a destructive false god. It is not just money – anything that becomes a god to a person must bow to the Lordship of Jesus. God will have no other god’s before him.
        A god can be money, a friend, a mate, a job, self pride, etc,etc. If it get’s in God’s and your shared intimacy it is a god. God does not place money or anything in our life that the individual can not handle. If one can’t tithe and be generous to help others that person can’t handle great and if they get riches it won’t be by God’s Hand, because He loves us too much to put a barrier between Him and us.

    • Judette Ramina

      I don’t know but for me this is so disturbing, since I read this article the other day I haven’t stop thinking if what I was doing should really be changed or stopped. I used to say that I am blessed whenever someone asks me how I am. Because for me that is one thing to show that I am a Christian and that I am happy about it. Not meaning to say that by saying “i am blessed” means that you become a Christian, but it just shows that being a Christian makes you look at things positively even though others look at it negatively. That even though you are sick, poor, jobless, weak, etc., you know that God is in control and He still blesses you through it all. Our life alone and each day waking up is God’s blessing,and I cannot just say that I am being grateful because for me that is too shallow to describe what I feel, it is not enough to describe others how thankful I am to the Lord for giving me those, as well as with the trials and hardships that he lets me go through. Even the dictionary explains that “blessed” means more :
      blessed:
      : very welcome, pleasant, or appreciated
      —used to make a statement more forceful

      And just want to add, using the statement “I am blessed” is also a good way of starting a conversation if you are trying to win a soul. =)
      Have a blessed day everyone!!!

      • Jay

        Why should you stop saying it , sounds like you are of the few that truly understands it. The writers point was merely to speak to those people who want to use God like a vending machine. They seem to intentionally want to get off the main point. WHAT God gives us no one can take away. L ET most of them lose their job and see what their opinions will be when that expensive house are car is repossessed. Most of the material things they get comes from their vanity, and if they are in the position in life to get these things that is great however they are misleading people who want to do God^s will.

      • Mary Helen

        Well stated. The article made me think (a good thing), but I kept arguing it in my mind. I am a thankful person and feel blessed
        In many, many ways. Not that I deserve the blessings, but so grateful for them all.

    • “After the fall and humans then knowing good from evil, (“God things” from “Non-God things”) God favored Abel’s offering (Genesis chapter 4). Enoch walked with God and God took him (Genesis chapter 5). Noah found favor in the eyes of The Lord (Genesis chapter 6). God’s chose: Abram for a great nation, the establishment of the patriarchs, Isaac and Jacob, the lasting covenant with Israel,the fulfillment of the Law through the coming of The Son of God, the New Covenant of eternal life and the pouring out of The Spirit on today’s believers, the church. God favored those of the species who chose the things of God. That’s Blessing.”

      Excerpt From: Mike Stair. “On Earth As It Is In Heaven.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/DZeA8.l

    • Frank Castano

      If you use the word “I am blessed” to honor god and not to honor yourself
      then it is absolutely fine to use that phrase.

    • “ In twenty-first century America, the contemporary spin is that acquiring “stuff” will bring forth the goal of happiness. Jesus may be saying in the beatitudes that happiness here in this existence should not even be our goal!
      James 4:2-5 (NIV) 
      You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? ”

      Excerpt From: Mike Stair. “Be Attitudinal.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/fBu8y.l

  2. petertrabertgoff

    Best post yet Scott. Well said.

  3. Scott, you made some good points and I’ll think a bit deeper before saying “I’ve been blessed”. I do think it has been a way to express gratitude for the undeserved grace of God in my life. But, as you’re suggesting, maybe ” I’m grateful” expresses that better.
    Thanks for putting this out there! It’s always a pleasure to read whatever you write!

    • Thanks, Linda. I appreciate your insights as well. Encouraging introspection. Though, I guess that’s why you’re a pro. 😉

      • Frances

        Hi Scott,

        You made some good points, however, I would like to add something that I have learned. We are blest that God gave us the earth and everything in it for our purposes,( which we should use it wisely). So everything is a blessing. It does not mean a car came directly from God. We built it using the resources he gave us. So it is a blessing that he gave us the means and the resources. We look outside and see a beautiful sky, perhaps trees. Those are truly Gods gifts. However, I do not think he has a favourite among his children. He loves us all. I imagine he will not give a person a car, or not give someone a car. He may inspire someone to donate or give money to buy one if they need it to do God’s work. I do not think he chooses who will die in a car accident and who will not. It does not mean he loves us less. I think God has an ultimate plan (something we may never understand) and we also have our free will. I think we can be completely confident that he will love us no matter what we have or do not have, and he will be with us no matter what we go through whether we sometimes know it or not. And that we can use everything that happens to us whether it is good or bad for the greater Glory of God and as a means for us to love God back. I have come to realize that sometimes when bad things happen or if we are suffering in some way, if we can love God through those times it can be our Gift to God. When we are given consolation it is so easy to love God but when it is hard that is when we can truly love God for himself because we love him and not because we are given consolation. Yes, it may be hard but God suffered the cross for us and he is always there to help us. God Bless!

      • Mac

        Even though many have repudiated what you have said, by telling you what the Bible says instead of agreeing with YOUR thoughts, you still are accepting praise from others who follow you. Scott, if the word of God can’t correct your wrong teaching, then you are in a very dangerous place.

        Many have proven that your own teaching on this subject, not God’s word, is against the Bible, yet you continue when others “like you” compliment you and encourage you in your wrong teaching. This means that MAN’S approval is what you are looking for, not God’s approval.

        Scott, you are in a very dangerous place brother.

  4. Wow. I love this post. Did Gabby tell you we talked about this EXACT subject at church last night? The prosperity gospel is SO prevalent in churches today and I think it’s really hurting Christianity– because it’s totally unrealistic. And yet, if you look at most famous Christians today, they’re constantly talking about how “blessed” they are, as if their fame and fortune came because they’re spiritually doing it right, and we’re… not. And that’s totally. Messed. Up.

    • Amen, Lindsay! Messed. Up! Wish I could have been there for the discussion. I get pretty fired up about this kinda’ thing. Now… what to do with that dollar in my car’s ashtray?

    • Scott

      While I wholeheartedly agree that the prosperity “gospel” is a growing heresy, I don’t think it’s fair To assume that everyone who says they are “blessed” is guilty of adhering to it. It’s also not fair to assume that everyone who claims that what they have is a “blessing from God,” believe they have recieved those blessings because they have done something to deserve it. It is a blessing because it was given by our sovereign God, a God whom we are not in a performance based relatationship with, but a relationship by His grace and for His glory. James proclaimed in James 1:17 that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father…” And Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 6:17 “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.” We see here for one that everything we have is indeed a gift or “blessing” from God. We also see that those gifts are given by God’s purposes and choice and therefore no one has reason to boast. We also see that our hopes must not be in the gifts but in the sovereign God who gives them. Friends, God does indeed bless, and we must give Him thanks.

      • Indeed, seek the Kingdom of God first … Life is very precarious for me and I’m exhausted, but I know that I must seek God always, put God first, trust God — and everything will be all right. I think back on my life and it is amazing that even before I knew what I have now learned, part of me believed in the real God — not the one with a rose in one hand and a hammer in the other, not the one who might answer my prayers, or the types of prayers God will or will not answer. But I do know that when I 100% on any situation let go and let God things worked out, sometimes instantly. I was once saved in my ’87 VW Cabriolet (that is my car since 2004). I was at the top of an icy hill and I was terrified (I was still in the midst of severe Paxil withdrawal and I hadn’t been back on the road long — long story there). I had just left mass, I had a few months Al-Anon under my belt. There was no way out but to go down this hill. I took a deep breath, I said let go and let God, I said “Jesus, hold my hand, I trust you.” And I drove slowly down this hill. I had a terrific sence of warmth and peace, never once did my little Cabby slip. That night my Cabby became God’s car and today, in 2014, she and I need help — I have learned to rely on no man and totally on God. Believe me, you know when God speaks through people and really does put you in the right place at the right time.

        God’s will is for prosperty (meaning balance and good in all areas) for his children, but, again, as Emmet Fox puts it, you must God first. Yeah, it really is that simple. This was Christ’s message to the rich man.

  5. Tiz

    I actually feel the opposite. I now use ‘blessed’ because I thought ‘lucky’ was insulting. I feel the word ‘blessed’ defines these great things in my life that are bigger than me; things I can’t take 100% credit for (even though I’d LOVE to). But I’m a ‘chosen’ one…so I’ve been lucky since in utero! (Jokes people!)

  6. Harriet Riggins

    Scott, I find this very thought provoking. One of my pet peeves is watching athletes looked upward and thank God for a succesful manuever or winning a game. I often reply to my son, who is a sport’s nut, that I doubt very seriously that God was that interested in the game’s outcome. There were probably more important issues with mankind that God was concerned with. Matthew 5:45 states “That you may be the children of your Father, which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” RKJV You’re right, we’re not promised an easy and comfortable life on earth. It doesn’t matter how much faith I may or may not have as to material wealth I amass. However, God has offered eternal life beyond our imagination if we follow Him through His Word! On a lighter note, I also agree with Gabby I know how much you loved talking and telling stories. I’m glad you are able to support your family with these recognized abilities you’ve obviously honed to be beneficial as well as entertaining to corporate leaders. I enjoyed reading your ideas and that our lives have crossed each other’s paths again, by sheer luck!

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Mrs. Riggins (sorry, I still have to call you that.) I remember you sharing faith with us growing up. I also remember spending lots of recesses in your classroom writing sentences due to my excessive talking. And to think, it was just practice for my grown up job of speaking (and writing).

    • Dawn

      Sometimes I think that our current modus operandi of “you don’t have to preach the gospel, just live it” has contributed to scenes such as the athletes you describe. I’m not bashing them…many are very outspoken about their faith. But it seems maybe in our culture we’ve bought into the idea that if we just “act Christian” we’ll change the world. Before you send scathing replies to this reply, I’m not saying we shouldn’t live out our faith, but don’t you agree that we as Christians tend to do little things to just “put it out there” that we’re Christians and hope that’s going to bring someone into a closer relationship with his/her Creator? Just a thought.

    • Amy

      Harriet Riggins
      For what it’s worth, this is my perspective on the athletes. When I see an athlete kneel and look up to or point to God, I just see humility, that they’re not being arrogant. I think for an athlete who plays for God’s glory wants to kneel and give thanks to God for maybe his ability to be able to play & do a good job. 1 Corinthians 10:31 “whether therefore you eat or drink or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God”
      also in Colossians 3:23 “do your work heartily as unto the Lord and not unto man”

    • Kathryn

      You don’t think that God cares about whatever it is that His children are doing? I’m going to say that I think God cares about the success of those who love Him — yes, even those who are professional athletes. Those athletes can serve as great role models by showing their faith in God on the field and through a variety of public charitable endeavors. Everyone has a role in the body of Christ.

  7. This is great Scott, profoundly great. I love that my little brother still teaches me new things…I like learning from you;)

  8. Rhonda McDavid

    Scott, you are correct and insightful, offering a great reminder of a great truth. However, you took a left turn at suggesting that where you were born and your opportunities are luck. Read Romans. God is sovereign. While the divine mystery of how free will and God’s sovereignty are mutually possible and true, I am grateful because He did in fact give me all I have, because of His grace. Nothing more. Not my works. Why? For His purposes and His glory. Why not the 3rd world Christian? For His purposes. For his salvation to be made complete through sanctfication. And mine. It is easier for the camel to go through the eye of a needle . . . If God is not sovereign and dumb luck reigns, what are discussing or praying to?

    • Great point, Rhonda! This is a lot to think about. I guess where I have the biggest question (and the greatest angst) is around discerning what “His Purpose” is. After living in the third world with people who have next to nothing, it is impossible for my feeble mind to fathom that poverty and suffering are part of God’s plan. Like place of birth and so forth, I believe suffering is just as random, but God’s sovereignty exists in all of us, as beings of choice. And, the truth is, while His purpose may be for me to enjoy what he’s given me, when I choose to splurge on a new vaccuum cleaner at Costco, I choose my wood floors over a meal for a starving child somewhere in my community. To me, God is sovereign in that His power exists in all of us to do what is right, but it is up to us to choose to listen.

      So… to answer who do I pray to? Good question. I may be out of my depth here, and getting into predestination. But if I believe God is sovereign and has a purpose, then, if I pray for something, do I really think I can change His mind if it wasn’t part of the purpose in the first place? Isn’t that just as futile? For now, I think I’ll land on this point. Wrong-headed as it may be, maybe my prayers are just a reminder to myself to listen to His voice planted inside me and ignore my own? The voice that tells me to do what is right. And when I pray selfishly, this is also the same voice that says, “No matter what happens, everything will be OK. Life will go on. And good will win in the end.”

      • I seriously considered this question when I found myself ALWAYS comparing my life to “someone who lives in a hut in Africa.” It went like this: “Well, I shouldn’t be sad that the car broke down, because someonewholivesinahutinAfrica has never even owned a car. I shouldn’t be angry that the plumber messed up the dishwasher, because SOWLIAHIA (let’s just abbreviate it!) doesn’t even have running water. I shouldn’t be upset that my husband lost his job, that I lost a baby, or that I got a series of rejections, because SOWLIAHIA is trying to scrape out a living rolling paper beads for $5/week.” According to the parable of the talents, those of us who have been given more are expected to use it–but those who have been given less are simply not held to the same standard!! SOWLIAHIA is not expected to churn out Christian novels/CDs/movies, or bake allergen-friendly foods, or even get their kids to school on time. (Because there may be no school!!) We who have been given much have a responsibility to use it well–NOT to bludgeon our brothers & sisters over the head with a TRY HAAAAARDER false-gospel.

      • “After living in the third world with people who have next to nothing, it is impossible for my feeble mind to fathom that poverty and suffering are part of God’s plan. Like place of birth and so forth, I believe suffering is just as random…”

        I can appreciate your feelings on the situation and can only imagine the conditions that you witnessed, but if I may speak bluntly, feelings should not drive your theology, the Bible should.

        I recommend reading Job. While I’m sure you’ve heard that before, it is only because it is one of the best Biblical examples of God allowing (and, in fact, choosing) pain and suffering to achieve his will. Job 1:6-12 is especially telling as 1) Satan attributes Job’s wealth to God’s blessing, and 2) God chooses to allow Satan to take Job’s possessions away, causing suffering. Also, Job’s response to all the suffering inflicted is very helpful, “‘Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” – Job 2:10b. The last part of that verse shows that Job is saying a correct statement in that both good and evil (or rather, suffering) are from God. Some other verses that support this are Deut. 32:39, Isa. 45:7 and Amos 3:6.

        Lastly, to see how God works through suffering to achieve his will, the story of Joseph in Genesis is a great example. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery (causing suffering), but later during Egypt’s drought is responsible for saving his family. Joseph’s conclusion is profound: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” – Gen 50:20. God “meant it for good” that Joseph would be sold into slavery, would suffer, so that he would ultimately be put into a position where he could save his family.

        Lastly, I would like to warn against the slippery slope of using words like “random” in relation to God and suffering. If these things happen by random, it can be implied that God does not control them, or cannot control them. If God does not control them, we can conclude that God is uninterested in our well-being, which is Biblically false (Jer. 29:11 and Rom. 8:28). If God cannot control them, we have stripped Him of his omnipotence, which is also Biblically false (Gen. 18:14 and Jer. 32:17). Saying that things happen by random can have greater theological consequences than it first appears.

    • Jason S

      This is the arrogance that turns people away from not just christianity in general. Do you seriously view reality that way?

      • Jeff

        Jason, I just joined this blog and I have to say that you’re spot on with your comments regarding Craig’s comments. If prosperity for some on this earth is a product of God, then we have a God of Favoritism. If the 20,000 (Google the CDC numbers from 2013) who will die today in the African plains from either starvation or unclean water are the product of God, then we have a miserable God. Scott Dannemiller is right about randomness. The events that occur on this earth are the products of randomness and from the actions (righteous and evil) of mankind.
        None of this implies (as Craig mentions) that God is either not soverign or that He cannot intervene. God’s soveringty means that He has the abilty to intervene but chooses not to. This should be apparent to all of us as we see the horrific events that occur that have no connection to sin. We have tornados, hurricanes, and volcanoes that are not God ordained. Are we to conclude that God caused the earthquake / Tsunami that killed 230,000 in in December of 2004?
        Because Job and Joseph are quoted as saying that God is the cause of the good and bad events of this world, does that remotely tell us that this is how God really operates? God certainly isn’t quoted in the those books as making statements like that. This is what happens to those who take the Bible literally in places and it’s this way of thinking that does alienate those who are seeking God.

        This argument that the author is making about being blessed can also be the same argument made with all of the bazillions of miracle claims that are made daily by people who think they are special in the eyes of God and receive His favor. How can we reconcile someone praying and receiving a job or good parking spot at Walmart , then claiming God intervened, while over 600,000 people will die this year from a mosquito bite.
        It’s maddening to say the least. People want to feel good and special. In that, they will make claims that cannot, and do not, correspond with reality.

  9. mom

    One of your best posts Scotty. I am grateful that God has given you” a gift of the spoken word” and you express it so well. You have moved on to the second half of your life with clear eyes.

  10. Great post. For an in depth look at this topic, check out Larry Crabb’s books, especially The Pappa Prayer. His New Way Ministries is all over this.

  11. I really appreciate this post. I’ve been profoundly influenced by my “Plain” sisters and brothers (Quaker and Mennonite Christians) who more readily accept the spiritual discipline of simplicity, and I feel drawn, more and more, to question my “right” to consume resources just to feed my prideful addictions to entertainment and comfort. I don’t see any material object as a blessing–blessings come, instead, in intangibles: a sense of peace, a revelation of grace, or the awareness of the Spirit’s presence. That perception moves blessings out of the world’s hoardable “mine not yours” economy, and puts blessings back in God’s economy, where riches are available to all, regardless of our rank in the world.

  12. Thank you so much for this post. I deeply appreciate the exposing of the false-gospel that says, “If you do everything right, you’ll be blessed!!” However, Hebrews 11 shoots that in the foot, as well as Ecc 9:11. I know that the predestination-vs-free will argument has been brought up in the comments here, but I think it’s a pointless argument. Thank you for your writing.

  13. Dana Bell

    This is an interesting, yet somewhat shallow, analysis of what it means to be blessed, or receive a blessing. A blessing is simply something that makes you happy. blessed = happy. And we receive things from God everyday that make us happier than if we didn’t. It’s not the things that are important, but realizing that they are gifts from God, gifts that we SHOULD acknowledge.. from the heart.
    Blessings are not reserved for certain Christians. They aren’t even reserved for Christians. God pours out his love and material gifts on the godly and the ungodly. It is the godly that recognize that God is the source of those things, and the source of what makes them blessed (happy). Just because the poor in heart will be made happy (blessed), doesn’t mean others are not also happy (blessed). But spiritual things are, well, things that will make you the happiest.

    • Wow…I guess you skipped the bit that says blessed are the persecuted. So being persecuted makes you happy?

    • Caryn

      Not sure how you can justify calling the author’s analysis “shallow” then turn around in the next sentence and state that “a blessing is simply something that makes you happy. blessed = happy”. Sounds like a case of “feel good” theology to me.

  14. jenniferlarsonwrites

    Actually, “blessing” does NOT equal “happy,” at least not from a Scriptural perspective. If it did, that would be one thing, but in the Old Testament, “blessing” connotes favor from Bod. That is, God is favoring someone over someone else–or that someone is favoring one person over another; think how Jacob connived to get his father’s blessing, instead of his brother Esau.

  15. jenniferlarsonwrites

    Whoops, hit reply too soon. At any rate, I think that many people really do mean “I’m so grateful” or “I’m happy” when they say “I’m blessed.” And I’m glad that they are happy or grateful. But to imply that they are favored by God? Hmmm. That’s where it gets a little tricky.

    • Mosesmalone

      It is understandable to think that way, if we humans somehow earn blessings or favor with God. The answer is no, and on the contrary we deserve to be treated the worst for our sin and rebellion towards God. Therefore any circumstance that is not the worst is favor from God that is completely undeserved. To have air to breathe is a blessing, to have money and a job and a house etc is a blessing, because we didn’t deserve it and therefore it represents God’s favor on us undeservedly. We don’t earn blessings, and only Christians can see past the gift to the real blessing: the Giver. This doesn’t mean the physical things aren’t blessings or favor, they are just far less than the blessing and favor of knowing God.

    • Dawn

      I think “I’m blessed” has become a signal to others that we are Christians. Nothing more. To argue the semantics of it assumes that people are using it for a deeper reason than that, and for the most part I’m not sure that’s the case.

  16. Samantha Wagoner

    Every time someone says they are “blessed” because they received something more in their life (money, job, health, material things or even patience) it makes me wonder why I’m not “blessed” in that way. Why doesn’t God love me as much as he loves the people he “blesses”? Of course I’m being sarcastic but I do wonder a little bit. There are times when I’d like to say “so, you’ve been so awesome that God gave you (insert blessing here) but he didn’t give that to me? Wonder what I’d have to do to get that “blessing”?” I know, I know, it’s not what they mean when they say they are blessed but it’s so rote that it comes off that way. I’m just happy to see that someone else questions how flippantly this word is used.

    Alright, I’m going back to my “blessed” (because God can see how much harder I’m working than you) life now. 🙂 Great article!

  17. I join in all you proclaim condemning the prosperity gospel and holding tight to the very clear understanding that when I have more than another, great care must be taken that neither of us understand this as some sort of divine playing favorites. That said, I claim the language of blessing in all things simply recalling the point, as I understand it, of Genesis 12: blessed in order to be a blessing. Yes, there is blessing — the trick is to never forget that blessing in God’s economy has purpose and is seldom, if ever, for its own sake. The word Jesus uses in the Sermon on the Mount is variously translated as ‘happy’, ‘blessed’, ‘blissful’ or ‘privileged’ (which, I think, gets to the heart of the matter). Also, not only does God bless us, but we bless God and each other and if I remember my OT history correctly ( and I sure hope so – this is one of my favorite things), the act of blessing is not a birthday-wish kind of thing, but rather is the act of speaking something into reality. What a powerful act of co-creating giftedness that is!

  18. Kristine

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with feeling blessed when we receive material things or money. There are instances in the bible where God blessed people with material things, it’s just that there was usually a reason behind it. The following article from Awake explains it quite well: “The Bible record includes cases where God blessed faithful servants with riches. Jacob, for instance, left his home with just his staff but returned 20 years later with enough sheep, cattle, and asses to form two camps. According to the Bible, Jacob’s prosperity was a gift from God. (Genesis 32:10) Another example: Job lost all his possessions, yet Jehovah later blessed him with “fourteen thousand sheep and six thousand camels and a thousand spans of cattle and a thousand she-asses.” (Job 42:12) Jehovah gave King Solomon wealth so great that its fame endures to modern times.—1 Kings 3:13.

    On the other hand, the Bible contains numerous accounts of faithful, obedient worshipers of God who were poor. Surely, God was not punishing some with poverty while blessing others with prosperity. What, then, was God’s purpose in bestowing riches in some cases?

    The answer is different in each case. Jacob’s material blessings formed a foundation for building a nation, in preparation for the coming of the promised Seed. (Genesis 22:17, 18) Job’s prosperity dispelled any doubt about who had brought calamity on Job, thus sanctifying Jehovah’s name. (James 5:11) And Solomon used much of his divinely provided wealth to build a magnificent temple. (1 Kings 7:47-51) Interestingly, Jehovah also used Solomon to write from personal experience about the limited value of riches.—Ecclesiastes 2:3-11; 5:10; 7:12.”

    It seems to me, if we find ourselves blessed in a material way, we just need to spend some time in prayer and contemplation in order to use these blessings in a way that would please God since he provided said blessings. Ask for His direction and guidance and He will provide it.

    • YES! This is how I see His material blessings! Each thing he has “blessed” our family with was to serve a righteous purpose. And I seek to use our blessings for righteous purposes. Not that I’m perfect, by any means, but I try to remember why I’ve been blessed in certain ways. I feel He blesses us all in unique ways best suited for our own growth and learning. One is not better than another; just different ways to bless others.

  19. Michelle

    I read it and thought (before I read the very last sentence) what Christians really mean is “I’m grateful.” Ha! And then I saw that was the last thing you wrote! 🙂 Blessed in the original Hebrew was a word that indicated a knee being bent to you. So when we talk about God blessing us, it’s actually describing Him kneeling down to be near us, the way a parent does with a child, and paying very close attention to what we feel/say/think/do. It’s a way of honoring someone and giving them attention and validation. That’s biblical blessing. It’s a word to describe God being in the moment with us and present for us. So yes, maybe semantics, but actually your post is well thought out and I think it’s definitely a slippery slope in American mainstream Christianity to reduce God to a wish-granting fairy. Without naming any names, there is such a ‘leader’ in the south who present God this way. Grateful, yes. Let’s express our gratitude to HIm and give Him all the praise for what he grants us. And what He chooses not to grant us.

  20. marion

    Best prayer I know of…..”Thy Will be done.” I try to use that prayer for everything. If I can turn my will over to the desire for God’s Will in my life, then those things that come to me, and the doors that open up for me have been done so through God’s Grace towards me and hopefully a step towards the salvation of my soul. By the way…..I don’t use ATM’s.

  21. I actually despise the message in this post. We ARE blessed. God is our provider. When we see ourselves as the ultimate providers we become proud and boastful. When we realize that all we have is because God ALLOWS us to have it then we must think twice. Recently I have survived the struggling fight out of poverty into lower middle class. It feels wonderful. Would I say that was something I deserved? No, I am marred by sin, have a rotten past and frankly am blessed to be alive. But to think even for one second that God had no role in allowing me to come out of the places I have been would be foolhardy and haughty. I’m afraid that too many allow themselves to be fooled by Satan into thinking THEY can be the ultimate providers and decision makers in their life. That was the first temptation. Should we blindly follow God and accept things that HE gives us, or should we make our own decisions and take what we want. There was a reason that tree was “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” and I don’t think it was some mystical property in the fruit. By taking the forbidden fruit and eating it man decided to walk away from God’s rules of provision and provide for himself. Thus the curse which is most fitting. “from the sweat of the brow”. but even that is not entirely our doing. God provides the rain the soil the sun and all we do is work with Him to make sure there are no weeds creeping in. It is a blessing. So before we go about making the first mistake again, let’s not forget where we came from, for ultimately it’s that knowledge that will determine where we go, back to God’s arms or living our own path.

  22. TK

    I disagree. Heavenly Father has blessed me with talents, blessed me with the family, friends, people in life to get me where i am. If said talents/people afforded me a home, a car, a competition win…i consider them blessings. Which is why when i say my prayers i try my best to remember to ‘thank you’ for every blessing…health, safe travel, family, being able to eat today and drink clean water…all blessings…and not to be compared in any way to others and their circumstances.

  23. Job 1:10
    “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.
    Job 42:12
    The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys.

    Question: Are you saying Job couldn’t say in his day “I am blessed to have all this?” Are you saying that God does not still bless with giving such things?

  24. Lana

    Great article. Refreshing perspective.

    I’m grateful for your post.

  25. Colby

    “My place of birth, my opportunities, and my good fortune are not a result of God’s choosing. It’s dumb luck.”
    I’m very surprised to hear that coming from a believer’s mouth. By saying that, you are robbing God of credit and glory and attributing it to luck. As one poster pointed out, God is sovereign and He has designed your life from start to finish. Don’t you realize the opportunities that come your way are a gift from God, and more times than not, a direct result of His will? Do you believe your opportunity to go to Guatemala was the will of God, or dumb luck? Do you believe your job opportunities are opportunities to serve God and accomplish His will, or dumb luck? With all due respect, have you ever asked God what His will is, where He wants you to live, and what He wants you to do? If you have, then He has answered you and given you opportunities to accomplish those answers. The opportunities you have, the contacts you have, even your family–none of it is dumb luck, but designed by God. It is the atheist that believes everything in their life is random chance and dumb luck, including their existence–not the believer! I’m sure you’ve heard Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”, but have you read Acts 17:26? It says, “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live”. And then there’s Psalm 139:16: “your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
    I also believe God blesses people in different ways. To say that a good financial standing, success, or even wealth are not from God is nonsense. He gave you the skills, the drive, the job, and anything else for those material blessings to happen, and for you to say they are not blessings from God, again, rob Him of glory. Now, if you only see blessings in terms of material gain, then I agree: we have a problem. But to see blessings in only the spiritual sense is also misguided, for “every good and perfect gift is from above”. Anyway, let me know what you think.

    • Stacey Peterson

      I love the points this commenter makes, and I agree completely. I think the author of the post is merely splitting semantical hairs. How is saying “I am grateful” essentially different from saying “I am blessed”? Grateful to whom? To be grateful implies that things were “given” and not attained through “chance” or “self effort.” Maybe the writer should say “I’m lucky.”

    • Thanks for all of the comments, folks. It’s been a pleasure to read all of your insights, and I truly appreciate how respectful the dialogue has been.

      I agree wholeheartedly with what many are saying (paraphrasing here) that when people say “I am blessed” what I really mean is “I am grateful.” I’m certainly not bashing people for feeling grateful and expressing that gratitude to God. I do the same thing in thankful prayers every day.

      I think Phoenix (comments below) captures the essence of it. When we use the term “blessed” with others who are not of the faith, it CAN be the final straw, and CAN push them away, rather than draw them to the faith. Because the truth is, there are many people of deep faith who simply are not “blessed” with enough to eat, or the opportunity for employment or education. Try telling a mother who just lost a child as part of God’s “plan” to trust in that same God. Believer or not, if their connotation of the word “blessed” is equal to “favored”, then we are speaking a condescending lie in their eyes. While we intend to be servants and preachers of the Gospel, we are simply giving them another reason to distrust Christians. I guess what I am saying is that we simply need to be aware that our innocuous statements could be having the opposite effect than what we intended.

      • Jon

        “When we use the term ‘blessed’ with others who are not of the faith, it CAN be the final straw, and CAN push them away, rather than draw them to the faith.”

        Along the same lines, I’m afraid your post is being used in a way that doesn’t serve God’s will without your even realizing it, and obviously without your intending it. I came across it on Facebook where people seem to be rallying behind it saying, “That’s right — the things I have are a result of my own hard work. God deserves no credit.” And even, “There is no God.” All being spread and shared under your post, which I think has sadly been linked through the Huffington Post.
        I think you should give Deuteronomy 8 a good read and then maybe reconsider some of your points.
        It is impossible for us to understand why different people are blessed in different ways, and why some appear to not be blessed at all. But that is in His hands, and not for us to question. I agree that to pray for material things is not good, and real loving Christians would not do this. In my prayers I give thanks for God’s blessings, and when I ask for something, it is for His will to be done. And I believe His will is for all people to come to Him in humility and find peace in His love and grace. This is what I pray for you: That you can find a way to trust Him and realize that the good things that happen for you are not related to the bad things that happen to others. You don’t need to feel guilty about that. Just be loving and kind to all, and use His gifts to serve others.
        And recognize that the suffering of others even provides opportunity to bring glory to God. Obviously when a mother has just lost a child, that’s not the most loving and compassionate time to point that out. We can only pray God will give her peace and be loving toward her as she grieves. Suffering is in the world because of sin, not because of God. But God can even work sin to His will. He doesn’t cause it, but He can make it change hearts. He can use it, but that doesn’t mean He likes it or wants it or causes it.
        I hope this helps with the obvious struggle you are having over why you have so much to be grateful for while others are suffering. I hope God can use this to bring you closer to Him.
        Admittedly there are many, many things Christians get publicly quite wrong, but feeling blessed is not generally one of them.

      • Ginger

        Another bit of good news I am learning lately is that I don’t have to defend or be embarrassed by or tiptoe around what God’s word says. He uses words like “blessed” and “favored.” So I don’t have to apologize for God.

      • Exactly. My kids are missionaries in places where a blessing is your house not collapsing in heavy rains, not being arrested for your faith, etc.

        Jesus summed it up in another context when he said not to rejoice because the demons (gods of this world) submit to us, but rejoice that our names are written in the Book of Life.

        I am grateful for all God has provided, but the real blessings aren’t subject to the whims of rain and sunshine (which affect the evil and the just), but are things I can take with me, eternal things. His kids.

      • Laura Reavis

        Notwithstanding that you have no idea why people are saying “I’m blessed,” how can you say in one sentence that a blessing is not experiencing a bad event due to the weather but that real blessings aren’t subject to the whims of rain and sunshine? All good things are blessings! Why are we so quick to deny God the credit and glory for all the blessings we enjoy just because there are others who do not enjoy those same blessings?

      • Hey, Laura! Not sure if I’m more confused by your question or your tone, but suffice to say: All good things come from God. And I will praise him in all things. I just happen to agree with the blogger that we can sound too boastful/insensitive when we rejoice over things others cannot hope to attain in this life and take for granted that which for others are great blessings. That’s all. No quibbling intended. Just a broader–and I pray deeper–perspective desired.

  26. I understand the concern of commenters who interpret being “blessed” differently than you do, Scott, and won’t go into the theology of the word here. However, when we as Christians use words that have a specific meaning to us, we need to be conscious of those to whom the words have a more mainstream connotation. Our theology is irrelevant in the ears of people who don’t share our faith, and whose understanding of “blessed” is the broad, cultural norm of “privileged” or “shown favor.”

    To people who do not know or understand God as we do, our terminology could be the final nail in the coffin of their unfaith. Who would want anything to do with a deity who, in terms of wealth and according to their understanding of “blessed,” gives lavishly to some and allows others to endure lives of utter misery before harrowing deaths. Again–we as believers can claim and support our particular definition of the word, but when we use it casually in conversations related to our material wealth or greater wellbeing, we’re intimating that God MUST love us more than those who are poor and suffering…because after all, if he loved them as he claims he does, wouldn’t he bless them too? Or if they could just find a way of loving him better, wouldn’t he finally bestow these blessings on them too?

    As a lifelong MK, then missionary, I’ve too often seen our theological skirmishes lead to irreparable misrepresentations of God to people whose only understanding of him is what we report about him. Regardless of theology, semantics matter and, left unchecked, could turn people away from the God whose love, grace and mercy are his greatest blessing.

    (And don’t get me started on other Christianisms like “The safest place is the center of God’s will…” I’ve written several posts of my own subjects like these!)

    • Thanks for capturing what was in my head so eloquently!

      • diane

        I hope we can all just try to live our lives in the short time we have here on earth by the way Jesus did.Jesus said “open your eyes and your heart,not your mind”.We need to focus on whats really important,sharing the good news as much as possible,and,helping others as much as we can.Jesus also said,”My kingdoms not of this world”.I don’t think God would want us to spend our time arguing over whos right or wrong regarding the word Blessed.Lets just be thankful that God showed mercy on us by sending his only son,that through Jesus Christ we have a chance at redemption and given the opportunity,tell others.,now,theres a Blessing!

    • It’s not just problems with prosperity in materialism either. It’s the whole prosperity in your prayer life, your health as well as your “finances”. If you get sick, you don’t have enough faith, need to pray more.

      It’s completely leaves God’s plan at the front door for the sake of appealing a person’s complete lifestyle prosperity.

  27. Claudia Wylie

    Scott – thank you for putting into words what I have felt for some time. I am disabled and actually I believe God was just telling me to slow down and enjoy what I have, a good family and the gumption to do the best I can with what I have. I do what I can to help those in need, and have learned the hard way that you can’t help those who won’t help themselves. I have wonderful people in my life – good friends, good neighbors and a wonderful family. I still have everyday problems just like everyone else and often pray for strength, wisdom or acceptance to overcome these problems. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  28. Jeanine

    Dumb luck? Really? I agree with everything else in this post but that. It’s all about the grace of God, and much of our “blessings” are undeserved, but their still from His hand.

  29. Catherine

    In the past when I have found myself casually following the popular footsteps of others using the word blessed when describing a part of my life’s experience connected to finances in some way, I have cringed on the inside….I have know the reason… using the word suggests that I am better inherently better than others, God loves me more. How wrong this is. The Spirit would lead me back to the Sermon on the Mount……though I eagerly share the view of this author on his point, I do not concede that all financial rewards are a result of dumb luck. Not at all. There are those rare stories of those who seem to have the perfect opportunities simply fall into their lap, but more accurate and true story comes from unrelenting hard work, smart decisions, willingness to take a risk, and even smarter advice from others…..and Yes, a little bit of God’s favor…… And YES, I agree with Scott’s decision and understanding of replying with the focus on gratitude!

  30. Shannon Gala

    Dumb luck isn’t part of our Christian belief, so if God is numbering the hairs on our very head, I’m certain that He also ordained where we’d be born. It seems that you are confusing two words: blessing and favor. God does not bless us because He favors us. The blessings come as part of His plan to show His love. I’m certain that those living on $10 per day feel blessed and my feelings of being blessed and thankful takes nothing away from them because even if we have nothing here, we are all blessed because God sent His Son for us. I will always say that I’m blessed when good things come my way and blessed when the bad things come because of that. I am blessed!

  31. Jennifer

    Your blog entry this go around gave me much food for thought and I couldn’t put my finger on why it bothered me…because I wasn’t sure it was “wrong” per say. Here are my thoughts. I think those that are in a mud hut are blessed that they have covering over their heads as we are blessed to have a nice home to live in. We are taken care of by our Lord whether it be simple or elaborate. It is all a blessing and everything that is GOOD comes from GOD. I think we are discussing the wrong point here in the comments. The biggest point is the last two words that you wrote that is “USE ME”. The biggest question of what we have been given, is YES that we are very very blessed if we have more…but what God wants is to see what we DO with it!!!! It clearly states in the bible that to which more is given more is expected. I really don’t think its a matter of how much we have little or more but what we do with which that is given to us. If we won the lottery would that be a blessing…I think it depends. What are you going to do with the money? If you give it all away, it would be a blessing to you and to others. If you keep it all for yourself, it might be your destruction.

  32. jocelyn

    I think you’ve hit a sensitive issue with your topic, as all the comments are quite passionate. As I read,what I see is that bottom line , we as Christians, need to be careful of how we express ourselves, and try to find other vocabulary that doesn’t wreak of “Christianese”or buzz words that can be offensive to others. I’ve been wounded myself from the insensitivity of Christians attributing large material wealth to God’s blessings to them. I know their hearts mean well, but it’s a reminder to me to search and choose words carefully in order to communicate God’s love without wounding our listeners.

  33. Adelisa

    Scott, you put into words something I’ve struggled with a long time. I completely agree that saying we are “blessed” for material things or circumstances is not consistent with what a blessing is.So those without are not blessed by Him? Nevertheless, I don’t see being “grateful” too far off from that erroneous thinking, either. Grateful to whom? To Him? Or to dumb luck? If we are grateful to Him for our circumstances…we assume he bestows these things to give us comfort, while others do without. I also don’t see our circumstances as sheer, dumb luck. He is omniscient–our circumstances have a purpose. That is where I agree with you again. We are sometimes given a situation that others don’t have. What do we do with it? “Use me.” That sums it up. We are here to do His will.

  34. I read it and “wanted to agree,” but it fell short of agreement. Where your treasure is your heart is also. I worship God, my treasure….anywhere….all the time. I say to Him as I drive down the mountain road with ice on the trees – “Lord, you have blessed me”. It comes from my heart, not my mind. I cannot take the salt out of the water nor can I remove the word and emotion of being blessed from my heart. During death and sickness and struggling, I have said over and over….”You have blessed me” and it kept me above my position. Being blessed is more of an appointed moment when God impresses on you, “To you from Me.” It can be anything including something material IF He allowed that impression. If another person says “blessed” and uses it for or in a different way, I cannot judge if it is “To them from Him” or not. I feel it can be a warning to one but not an absolute for all.

  35. Carley

    Love this article. I am trying for an authentic relationship with God and I was never comfortable saying I felt blessed for ‘x’ opportunity or ‘y’ luxury. I felt like a faker, just making sure to throw blessings into everyday life. Truth is, I feel actually blessed when sharing a meaningful experience with a friend or spending time in nature or appropriately handling a rough situation with grace that didn’t come from within. To say my new shoes or an internship is a blessing seems to cheapen those other more genuine blessings. Thanks again!

  36. In French, where verbs often end in “-er”. The verb “blesser” means “to hurt”. You toss that around in your head a bit and you will see trials completely different. Whom the Lord loveth, he blesseth.
    He is in the work of building strong and amazing men and women of God … not making our lives easier…

  37. I am grateful to have found your blog through Glennon at Momastery. Your blog has cleared a cloud that I had in my faith journey. I have a clearer understanding of my responsibility as a believer to non-believers. I strive to look for the good in all and show love in all that I do. Thank you.

  38. Jodie

    I think I prefer, “I’m fortunate.” Sort-of a reminder to yourself and the person you’re speaking to how much we have to be grateful for and that we can share our excess with others.

  39. Thank you for writing this, I am yelling AMEN and sitting back to think a spell. When we were involved with NGOs in SE Asia we would often hear people say “Oh we’re just blessed to be a blessing” when we thanked them for their help in various projects. It made me feel a little stabby. I agree with others that an overuse of the word has cheapened the meaning and more so the experience.

  40. Great thoughts, Scott. And I believe you bring up a lot of truth here. thanks for sharing and the reminder that our “many blessings” often come in non-material forms.

  41. Wow. There must be something in the water. I just wrote about this in regards to pregnancy and parenting. We need to better understand what blessing is and means and your article is a great glimpse into that dialogue. Thank you for writing!

  42. Kristy

    Like many, I often struggle with how God’s will, free will, Grace, and blessings intersect. I also understand the idea of this language (material blessings) being off-putting to nonbelievers. But, I cannot believe in the bible’s Truth and buy the world’s truth at the same time. I AM blessed…in so many ways. To imagine (or say) otherwise is a rejection of my God’s power and loving gifts, whatever they may be.

  43. SKB

    Kind of reminds me of how my mother taught me to pray. My father traveled a lot when I was a kid and she used to worry like crazy that something would happen to him, that the boogeyman would come and break in the house while he was gone, etc. So she would pray that God would stop these things from happening to us/him. She confided to our preacher one day that she never felt better after praying and he told her she was “doing it wrong”. Instead of praying for all of these unknown things to not happen, she should be praying for God to take the worry from her. For God to help her find her strength and her ability to cope. She could finally sleep in peace after that. That story has always stuck with me and definitely affects how I talk to God.

  44. This article is so refreshing! I think there are many similarities to the concept you’re getting at with the word blessed, and how Christians so often relate to healing. Yes, there’s the prayer ATM idea, which is oh so prevalent. Far too often, I’ve experienced the accusatory “if you had more faith you’d be healed” (said with the utmost love of course!) or in regards to the clinical depression I’ve battled for more than a decade, “just read your Bible/pray more”. Both of these remarks, hint (rather explicitly) at earning God’s favour. I don’t know about you, but that’s not the God I serve…nor do I want to serve a God who’s favour I must earn.

    Do we really believe that God only heals people because of their faith? True, Jesus often healed in the Bible because of someone’s faith….but that isn’t the only reason he healed in the Bible. Even beyond that, what about His faithful followers who travelled around, listening to His teachings where ever Jesus spoke…yet they weren’t all healed. Do we truly believe that those individuals were unfaithful to Christ…simply because in a crowd of 5000 men (plus women & children), Jesus didn’t come to them individually and heal them?

    Is that really who we think Jesus is? Does Jesus ever say, “If you are faithful, I will always heal you? Of course not! Can we really say to someone with terminal cancer, “If only you had more faith…” Can we really say to someone who loves Jesus wholeheartedly yet battles mental illness, that they haven’t been healed because they don’t read their Bible daily? Must we always judge through the mask of spirituality? How dare we make these judgements in Jesus name? That’s not the God I know and love!

    …and back to the original article on tossing around the word “blessing” everywhere we go. I was hit by a car while cycling in the fall, yet miraculously sustained no broken bones. While I was left with a multitude of symptoms, it truly could have been much worse, and eventually I will recover. However, I have felt so frustrated with people in general….but especially Christians.

    I have seen so much brokenness in the North American church. Although church should be a place to bring our pain and frustrations and sorrow, without the need to gloss it over…that isn’t the culture we have created. Instead, people come to church and just like outside of the church, we’re uncomfortable with pain. Instead of saying, “life is really hard right now and my symptoms are very frustrating and I feel like I have no life since the accident”….I always feel the need to gloss it over and at the very least add, “but I’m so blessed that it wasn’t worse…clearly God was protecting me”. I feel as though if I don’t add that phrase, people will judge me…and frankly those feelings are justified. I have another friend who has also had an accident and said, “If I don’t see someone outside of the church setting, I don’t acknowledge that my back hurts.”…and encouraged me to do the same thing, because that’s what is culturally acceptable. Now I’m not saying that we as Christians should go around complaining about our struggles all the time, but I think there’s a big difference between acknowledging, “Life really sucks right now”, and going on and on and on about how difficult things are.

    Maybe it’s time we changed the culture of the North American church? Maybe it’s time we stopped pasting smiles on our faces and declaring how blessed we are…while our families are falling apart or some other painful experience is happening in our lives. Maybe it’s time we learned to be vulnerable and stopped glossing things over with the word “blessed” or using the word “blessed” to somehow feel superior to others. How did we get so far from Christ’s real purpose? How often are we Pharisee’s unaware and unintentionally?

    Well, that’s my rant…I realize it’s a bit of a jump from where you started…but that’s where my mind went, so I thought I’d blurt it out. 🙂

  45. Ed Rowell

    #blessed So sick of this hashtag. Or, “God is good.” Hey, God is good whether I get right in to have my oil changed or have to wait. It’s code for “things went my way.” When will we grow up in our faith?

  46. Heather

    I see your point, but I disagree. All good things come from The Lord. I think it’s ok to call them blessings and to “feel” blessed by things as simple as food or a vehicle. I agree that grateful is also appropriate. Your blessings are different from mine, but they are still blessings.
    You lost me at the dumb luck part. Of course you were born when and where God placed you! If you had been born somewhere else or in a different time, you wouldn’t be writing and reaching so many.
    Blessings come from God because he is filled with grace. And just like He doesn’t make people sick, He’s not choosing to NOT bless those who are less fortunate…. He sees the bigger picture and there is a reason for all of it. It is not fair by our limited human perspective, but I believe we aren’t necessarily meant to understand everything. Our questions will be answered after death.
    The best we can do is have a relationship with Jesus and seek Him in all that we do. He will lead us and help us to fulfill our purpose. We can change the world in His name!

  47. Although I am not a Christian (I’m Jewish), I often say that I’m blessed and I always felt a bit uncomfortable with that saying because I know so many more who would be deserving of the “blessings” that I lucked into. This is a beautiful post for all religions and for all of us who are lucky and grateful for it.

    • Lisa,

      I’m sorry that this blogger has posted something that would cause you, a Jewish person, to “stop” saying I’m blessed and start saying, “I’m just lucky.”

      First let me say, you are blessed above most people simply because you are Jewish. You are the apple of God’s eye, you are one of the chosen people, you are the true branch – not grafted in like us Christians are, you are a firstborn, we Christians are adopted. BUT… you can be doubly blessed by G-d by accepting Yeshua Hamashiach. G-d will never give up on you. As long as you have breath in your body, you still have the chance and opportunity to be with Him throughout all eternity.

      Again, I’m sorry that any Christian who writes something derogatory about G-d and His blessings that would stop a Jewish person from saying, “I’m blessed.” Even if you lost everything in this life that you own, this is only temporal – a very short period in time, And… you are still blessed by the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob because you are Jewish. But know that this will not promise you eternity with G-d. Only accepting His Son, Yeshua, will do this. Then you are truly blessed for all eternity.

      Shalom

      • I agree with Lisa that no one who names the name of Christian should dishonor any Jewish person because the person is a Jew. I realize there are fake Jews just like fake Christians and the fakes cause a lot of trouble. I also realize there are ignorant people. I am of the household of faith for without faith it is impossible to please God. I honor the position God gave the Jewish people but recognize that He selected them from among nations to be His and to extend the hope God gave them to all people. The Jews were to be the evangelists of the day, not to horde God and scorn others but to represent God and to make believers of others. Sure the non-Jewish believer was not part of the culture of lineage of Abraham but God loved them also.

        To the Jew first and then to the gentile makes sense. God gave Moses and the prophets the old testament/covenant of the Bible. They were to obey God and do right with God and man by following the 10 commandments. God knew they could not do it so He got them to symbolically sacrifice animals for their sins, and often had a barbeque left over for the priests and people. God wanted the hearts of Adam’s race. Remember that God FIRST made a promise to send the Savior to Adam and Eve after they fell. Christians recognize Yeshua Hamashea (may have spelled that right – late at night) as the Messiah Who came and freed those in Abraham’s bosom, which included non Jews like Methuselah, Noah, and many others as well as the Jews– and He took Paradise and it’s inhabitants to Heaven while in the grave defeating death, hell , and the grave before resurrection.

        Some Jews feel superior and that they are better than anyone else. They are the elect but not an exclusive country club – priveleged to preserve and pass on God’s laws and other writings to paint the picture of the Messiah. Many today that practice the Torah and shun the Babylonian Talmud and Kaballah are God’s elect people and those who please God by their faith will find the Messiah and be saved. It is not tradition that saves it is the Messiah.

        Be blessed and always honor God with the blessing He bestows on all and especially those who trust Him and seek Him – will find Him. Shalom!

  48. May God bless you with discontent with easy answers, half-truths, superficial relationships, so that you will live from deep within your heart.

    May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, abuse, and exploitation of people, so that you will work for justice, equality, and peace.

    May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you will reach out your hand to comfort them and to change their pain to joy.

    May God bless you with the foolishness to think you can make a difference in this world, so that you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done.

    This blessing, often called a “Franciscan Blessing,” was apparently written by Benedictine Sister Ruth Fox of Sacred Heart Monastery in Richardton, ND about 25 years ago (1985).

  49. Well said. Our adult Sunday School class had a very similar conversation and then proceeded to do a Beatitudes study. Modern Christians love to glam on to phrases without really thinking about what it really means. I’ve been guilty of the “I’m so blessed” knee jerk response too. After really looking at the Beatitudes and how Jesus would have us live, I’m Blessed isn’t at the tip of my tongue anymore.

  50. “My blessing is this. I know a God who gives hope to the hopeless. I know a God who loves the unlovable. I know a God who comforts the sorrowful.”

    This is key. We all can be blessed whether we have a new car or not. Yes, we definitely need to separate the tie between being blessed and material wealth. But I don’t think the answer is to stop saying God blesses you in the “good” things, it’s to start saying you’re blessed in all circumstances. If your blessing really is to know God, then that is true whether you are homeless or in a castle.

    Of course we can’t get too “Pollyanna” about our lives–there is need for grieving and sadness at times, but they are bearable times for me because they are in a context of knowing that I am still blessed by God.

    Thanks for the post. A great starting place for a needed conversation!

    • Elaine H. Bland

      I agree totally, Christina. If a Christian is not blessed who is. The defination of blessed is “holy, consecrated, enjoying great happiness, etc” in my dictionary!!!!! As a Christian we of all people should use the word “Blessed”. Not just in the sense of material things but all things. We have a Savior who bled and died for us so we might live! I use the phrase ” to blessed to be stressed” lots of times and really mean it!! Thanks for your comment !

  51. Thank you so much for this. I lived overseas for some years and have been struck by this attitude since returning to a more affluent country–esp your second point about other believers who aren’t as “blessed.” We are very quick as Americans to equate blessings with material wealth.

  52. Reblogged this on Closer to Lola and commented:
    I just love love love this! I am feeling Grateful tonight for each and every one of you. You’re all amazing and doing your best, and it is enough.
    Best,
    Laura

  53. It is impossible for anyone to define or speak for God, as clearly you are not claiming to. However, I think it is great that you were convicted by the HS to write about such a debatable notion. All I know (or think I know) is that I don’t deserve anything. And anything “good” that happens to me is by the grace of God. Not my works. It’s funny how I have learned to stop equating bad with good. His ways are completely opposite to this world. I pray for His will to become my will. Regardless of the outcome. (Easier said than done!) Thank you for sharing this.

  54. It is impossible for anyone to define or speak for God, as clearly you are not claiming to. However, I think it is great that you were convicted by the HS to write about such a debatable notion. All I know (or think I know) is that I don’t deserve anything. And anything “good” that happens to me is by the grace of God. Not my works. It’s funny how I have learned to stop equating “hard” with bad. His ways are completely opposite to this world. I pray for His will to become my will. Regardless of the outcome. (Easier said than done!) Thank you for sharing this.

  55. MKA

    I AM blessed, not by your terms, not by finances. I often through trials and uncertainty in my life say it. Regardless if the outcome is as I wanted. I am blessed because I am a sinner who has a Father who loves me more, and forgives me every day. I was chosen by him long ago when he gave his sons life for me. I respect and understand what you’re saying. I am not favored above anyone, but I AM blessed ❤

  56. Tish

    Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17 NIV)

    I agree with you that my Blessing, with a capital B, is my Lord. But I respectfully disagree with you about not crediting every good thing I have to The Lord. I don’t serve Christ to get things, I serve him because he gave me Himself. He is my blessing!!! But God is a generous giver and he delights in giving. He gave his only Son!!!! There are christians out there that are incredibly rich. I don’t possess a billionth of what some of those people do, but I don’t consider myself any less blessed! God blessed me with talents, with gifts, with an aptitude for certain things and I’m thankful for every single one of them. Now, should he ever see it fit to take them all away, as he has before, it would still be ok because I’d still have Himself! I appreciate your post, but I think that sometimes we must learn to receive as God always wills to give, and give for his glory alone!

    • Tish

      I felt compelled to submitted another reply as I don’t want what I just said to be associated with the infamous prosperity Gospel… In all fairness, I must say that I have also been blessed with bad things happening in my life. My marriage almost wrecked, but if it wasn’t for the years of suffering my husband and I went through we wouldn’t have the beautiful marriage we have today. Even if my marriage hadn’t gotten any better, I would have still been blessed because God has revealed himself to me during that trial in such way that I’ve been forever changed as his servant! That’s why I can’t look at all the things that God has given me or has chosen not to give me and not feel immeasurably blessed!

      • Tish (and this is for you too Scot),

        There was a young man, about 30, who was a chain smoker and he was not a Christian. He worked with us (3 Christians) remodeling homes. We Christians talked all the time about G-d, miracles and listened to taped testimonies of miracles and healings on a Radio/tape player. Finally, one day this young man said, “Ok, I’ve heard you guys talk so much about miracles and what G-d can do and has done. If your G-d is so powerful and good, can He heal me and take the addiction of these cigarettes away from me?”

        I grinned at the other guys and walked over to the young man and said, “Yes, He surely can and He will. But let me ask you one thing first, “If G-d takes all desire for these cigarettes away from you, will you give your life to G-d.”

        The young man said, “Hell no… then he got embarrassed at what he had said, thought about it and then slowly said, Yes… If G-d can do that, I’ll give my life to Him.” So we anointed him with oil and prayed over him. While I was praying, the LORD showed me something so I told the young man, “Tonight, you’re going to cough all night long, so much that you won’t be able to come to work tomorrow, but don’t worry about it, it’s just G-d cleaning out your lungs from all that smoking.”

        The next morning about 5am, the young man called and could hardly talk for all the coughing. He said, “I can’t (cough) come in (cough) to work (cough) today, I’ve been up (cough) all night coughing, haven’t gotten (cough) one minute of sleep (cough).”

        The next day, the young man came to work and we quietly watched him all morning, and he never smoked one cigarette. When we broke for lunch, I said to him, “Ok, it’s your turn to honor your word.” He said, “What are you talking about?” I said, “You haven’t smoked one cigarette all morning and you said if G-d would take the desire from you, you would give your life to Him.” He said, “Hey, I haven’t smoked any have I?”

        He went outside and tried to smoke a cigarette. We watched as he lit 3 cigarettes and threw each one down, coughing and gagging at the taste. He came back in and said, “Ok, it’s true. G-d did what you said He would do, now I’m ready to get saved. And he knelt down to pray.”

        Now, if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll admit that this man was blessed by G-d in both things… smoking cigarettes and in deliverance from the cigarettes. He thanked G-d for the smoking habit, because without the smoking, he would have never gotten saved. Then he thanked G-d for saving him and for delivering him from the cigarettes, and… for cleaning out his lungs from years of smoking.

        Now you decide, was this man blessed in “all” things that had happened to him? Yes he was, he was blessed with the bad things as well as in the good things. If anyone thinks that being delivered from an addiction is not being “blessed” by G-d, then you’ve never been bound by an addiction. If you think that being healed by G-d is not being blessed by G-d, then you have never had a disease that will or could take your life. If you think that having a bad habit in your life cannot be turned into a blessing from G-d, especially when if it wasn’t for that bad habit, you would never have believed that G-d was real or that he loved you personally… then you don’t know what being set free from the bondage of an addiction is.

        G-d’s word says, “ALL THINGS work for the good for those who love the LORD and are called according to His purpose.” Now people, that is what it means to belong to Almighty G-d and to be blessed by Him.

    • Kristin

      Tish, I couldn’t agree with you more! I appreciate what you said here because that’s exactly what I was thinking when I read it. I am blessed, every single day, by the talents God has given me, by the love God has given me, by the people God has placed in my life (both good and bad). And I will continue to tell of my blessings that God gives me daily. He is our Blessing, our ultimate Blessing. But, He certainly does bless us, continually, in our lives.

      • Kristin,

        I can help but wonder, why does Scot (the write of this blog) only “Reply” to those who brag on what he has written. Only those who “agree” with him. I wonder why when people like you and many, many others respectfully disagree with him about being “blessed” by G-d, and give story and scripture to prove that G-d bless His people, why he does not reply to them.

        The Bible says, “there is strength in a multitude of counsel,” not strength in listening to only those who agree with you. That seems to be a very dangerous place to be in. Iron sharpens Iron, but sugar doesn’t sharpen sugar.

        In Psalms 141:5, it is a prayer to G-d asking Him not to let me refuse the counsel and correction from the righteous. To be admonished and corrected by the word of G-d is also being blessed by G-d.

        “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head:”

    • Jen

      Again, is wealth a “good and perfect” gift when it has come with blood on our hands? Standing on the backs of poor countries to gain material wealth is EVIL. Much of our wealth has not come through godly channels. So, not only are we saying that “they are unblessed and we are the blessed”, we are also saying that God would choose to support wealth gained through evil means and greed, since we primarily sit in our comfortable wealth and ignore the suffering of the oppressed.

      • JP

        Jen: your comment sounds authoritative and holy, but it is Biblically indefensible.

        Every gift from God is received with blood-covered hands. The essence of the Gospel is that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God, despite our wickedness, gave us his greatest gift – His Son – so that we might live. If God can give the greatest gift of all to wicked, blood-guilty people, then He can do the same with the lesser gifts. We are all wicked and deserve nothing. We cannot earn favor from God. If a gift is earned it is no longer a gift, it is a wage.

      • ab

        Jen, thank you. I agree, completely. This is an area that I find really difficult to navigate, especially with other Christians. We, as a nation, have more wealth than just about anywhere, yet expect to get everything cheaply. For example, there is a reason that clothing at Target costs so little, you know? Someone had to endure a low-cost existence to provide us with that, but very few people consider that. They are excited about their “great deals”. I try to extend grace with this, since many people just aren’t aware, but it is admittedly a struggle.

    • Tish, my exact thoughts! I couldn’t agree with you more. I always ask for God’s will to be done in my life and accept the good and the bad. I too believe God is a very giving God and a very loving and jealous God. He wants us to love Him and follow Him so He can take care of us. Without God I would have nothing and I wouldn’t be rich (blessing wealth, not monetary wealth) with all the blessings He has bestowed on me. Thank you so much for comment because there were many things I just couldn’t 100% agree with. God bless you 🙂

  57. Very valid points — and well-said. It reminds me of another phrase that has always bothered me. When people see someone in a wheelchair — or someone homeless on the side of the road — or someone bald from chemotherapy — or someone being lifted from a car crash, they often shake their heads and say, “There but for the grace of God…” They mean well, I’m sure, and they’re just acknowledging that they are grateful not to be suffering in that way. But it’s always bothered me because when they imply, “There but for the grace of God go I” — it implies that the homeless person or sick person or car crash victim was NOT graced by God and was not loved by God. It implies that in some way, that person deserves that suffering. And it implies that the person making the observation feels that they don’t deserve that tragedy because they have God’s grace. I know this is probably a small semantics issue, but I really wish people would stop saying that! Perhaps a simple internal thought of “I pray for you” or “I’m sorry for your suffering” would suffice — or better yet, a little help! :o) Thanks for letting me rant!

    • DaisyB

      Darcy,
      I just had a conversation about this phrase with my 16 yr old daughter last week. She asked me about it’s meaning and we talked about what I think people really intend when they say it, but how I didn’t care for it for the exact same reasons you state. And then I compared it to when some say they are blessed and how I feel that it sounds as if they feel that are more deserving of those “blessings” than others. It’s not just semantics and though, I feel, that it’s most important to try to understand others intentions when they speak, I also feel that if you are aware that the things that YOU say may be discounting others that you are best to select your words more carefully. I like your suggested alternatives. 🙂

  58. Molly Carroll

    I do agree with most of what you said about our overuse and maybe inappropriate use of the word blessed. I just do not believe in luck. I believe God’s got a plan for everyone one of his children, that we all, like puzzle pieces, are in the process of fitting together to form His perfect outcome or picture. Some of us take longer to find where we fit in, some of us do like where we fit in and try to make our place where we do not belong, but God does have a perfect plan and it will come together. I do agree with using grateful as you suggest.

  59. That “blessed” is often reduced to a trite catch-all “Christianese” phrase. I agree and it’s sad.

    That claiming the physical accruments of life are somehow not worthy of the title “blessings from God” I disagree.

    Not to be confused with God’s Grace (which is freely given and received), scripture is clear that God’s Blessings are “If/Than” propositions. You’re “Sermon on the Mount” quotes are perfect examples: If we ______ than He ______.

    As I’m sure you know, the original meaning for the word “blessed” that Jesus used is simply “happy”. The meek are “happy” because they know that God has a significant “inheritance” in store for them. That “blessing” is in fact due to the coming reward.

    Your thesis is wrong. Christians should understand and recognize that the physical rewards of hard work and good effort (both very biblical) are indeed blessings from God. However we must not replace God (our true source of happiness) with the physical entrapments of wealth.

    You seem to take a decidedly unbiblical worldview when you flatly say:
    “My place of birth, my opportunities, and my good fortune are not a result of God’s choosing. It’s dumb luck.”

    Here a a few verses that seem to contradict that thought…

    – Psalm 127 (our children are a specific blessing from the Lord)
    – Psalm 139 (Purposely made by God for His purposes – no luck involved.)
    – Proverbs 10:22 (God’s blessings bring wealth of all kinds)
    – Proverbs 16:4 (God made everything for His purpose)
    – Isaiah 10 (Even the opportunities of the wicked are controlled by God.)
    – Jeremiah 1:5 (God knows us and places us in this world for His purposes.)
    – Jeremiah 29:11 (Even in dire situations God is in charge – not luck.)
    – John 9:3 (human suffering isn’t wasted. God uses it to display His love.)
    – James 1:17 (All we give and all we get comes from God)

    I could go on but the point is likely made. Our lives are not the results of some cosmic lottery. God is sovereign and we are placed in this world to both do and experience the will of God.

    So, if it bothers you to say you are “blessed” by the stuff, opportunities and rewards of the life God has placed you in, you could say you’re “feeling grateful” of you could just say what Jesus said in the first place…”I’m Happy!”

    • This might be true if our “hard work” and “good effort” did not include “exploiting the poor of the world.” I don’t believe God “blesses” taking advantage of the oppressed and weak. Many of the blessings enjoyed by our country have come at the expense of the poor–God is most decidedly on the side of the poor, so these things cannot be his “blessings.”

      • Many of God’s blessings to Israel came by destroying their enemies (most notable the “Promised Land”. I’m not suggesting that sinful or evil gain are somehow blessed by God (or even endorsed).

        I’m simple trying pointing out that God is not averse to using force or even political power to move His blessings wherever He chooses.

        I’m not big on false guilt. Since I have never knowingly oppressed anyone but have knowingly opposed those who do I reject the idea that I should feel ashamed of the physical blessings I have received from God. A careful rereading of Jesus “Parable of the Talents” is proof enough for me. I am responsible to God to use whatever circumstances God has placed me in to the best of my ability and to the highest of His glory.

        There is no intellectually honest connection between you or I improving our lives (through hard work or effort) and rejoicing in the “blessing” of that opportunity AND caring for the plight of those less fortunate than we are. A Christian must be able to do both or they misrepresent God.

        When a goat herder in Africa improves his economic situation by selling his goats and buying a cell phone business (which makes money by charging fellow goat herders) we rejoice and call it economic development. But, when middle-class Americans make financial profits from wise investment in the stock exchange we call it capitalistic greed.

        I think we should just call both “blessing” and leave it at that. After all Deuteronomy 8 tells us we should view all wealth and possessions as “blessings from God” in response to His covenant with His people.

      • I am troubled by your stating what God isn’t adverse to; if I am going to presume anything about God, it falls on the side of grace, rather than God sanctioning violence and destruction for some unknown higher purpose. Yanks God down to our level, which is par for the course. As Twain said, God created us in His image and we immediately returned the favor.

      • Oops… I missed a very important “not” in my last post. Sorry! It should have read:

        “There is no intellectually honest connection between you or I improving our lives (through hard work or effort) and rejoicing in the “blessing” of that opportunity AND *NOT* caring for the plight of those less fortunate than we are. A Christian must be able to do both (receive blessings with gratitude and care for the less fortunate) or they misrepresent God (in his sovereignty).”

        Ecclesiastes 5:19 “And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life–this is indeed a gift from God.”

        This and other scriptures I’ve shared should prove I’m not “cherry picking” verses here… the theme of blessings from God literally runs throughout scripture. And – yes – they are often physical blessings.

      • nwalter56, I mean no disrespect to God. And I fully agree – From the gift of Christ we can clearly see God chooses grace and mercy over destruction when it comes to the saving and blessing of His people.

        But one cannot read about the taking of the “Promised Land” or even the journey of Abraham without clearly seeing that God can and will use force to install blessing on His people.

        I don’t believe I’m presuming on God by saying what Scripture clearly says. I admit. it’s uncomfortable for me (with my deep gratitude and love for the mercy and grace of God) to read verses in Scripture where God laughs at the weakness and destruction of His enemies. But those verse are there non-the-less.

        But in case someone reads this and get the wrong idea, I firmly believe God – through the Holy Spirit – calls all people (no longer just one ethnic group) to come to Him. Because of Christ’s victory over sin and death we are now reconciled to God. In fact, one of the underlying truths of the New Testament is this – God no longer has any earthly enemies. As John 3:17 says, we have all been reconciled to Him if we just believe.

        But back to the authors point – God alone understands why some are blessed with human comforts in this life and others are not. I cannot fathom the reasoning that goes into such a decision. It is beyond my human capacity to understand (Isaiah 55). God moves and removes blessing on those He alone pleases. To say this is “dumb luck” is in fact limiting God. Sp to hijack Twain’s excellent quote: “We don’t understand why God would do this SO He must not be doing it.”.

    • Jeff,

      Good analogy and showing the truth from the word. Our opinions are simply that, our opinions… but the word of G-d is truth. One thing we must do in this life, is truly get to know who G-d is and His character. If we fail to do that, then how can you place your trust in someone you don’t know?

      So when someone says, “You’re not really blessed by G-d, it is simply dumb luck,” then you can instantly say, “You’re wrong. I know my G-d, I know His character, I know what He has said about His people, I know about His love, and I’ve have experienced it all. You can talk trash about the devil all you want, but don’t talk like that about my Father.”

  60. Dawn

    I needed this today. It’s a good reminder of what makes me blessed. I am a missionary home on furlough. We came back completely wiped out from working in an area facing war and loss. And we came back to an economy which had tanked while we were gone and prices making it impossible to live on our “faith-based” (what does that mean, anyway?) income. I have been so focused on wondering why God is not “blessing” us. Then I read “blessed are those who mourn” (we sure did our share of that), “blessed are those who are merciful…peacemakers.” I am truly blessed! Thanks for the reminder.

  61. Just a humble student of the Word

    Okay, I get the desire to avoid the prosperity gospel, and I’m completely with you on that. There is great danger in that theology and I respect and encourage your desire to stay away from it. However, material blessing is from God, and He blesses those as He chooses. Your assertion that “My place of birth, my opportunities, and my good fortune are not a result of God’s choosing. It’s dumb luck” completely negates God’s sovereignty; the fact that He has the power to do what He wants, and He will do whatever He chooses to. There is just as much danger in not attributing the blessing of God to God as there is only attributing the blessing of God to financial blessing. I have in my short life been blessed with an abundance of material wealth, and I have been blessed with losing almost all of it. I am currently blessed by making just enough to get by, and I have to seek help from family and friends sometimes. Yes, that is a blessing, but it is also a blessing to have much.

    I have had the privilege of spending the past almost three years studying the Old Testament, and one of the major emphases all throughout is on the blessing of Yahweh. In the covenant God has with Israel, material blessing is a direct result of them serving and obeying Him as a nation. Granted, that covenant does not directly correlate to our Christianity, as we’re under a New Covenant. Still, by way of application, even though power and wealth have the potentiality to corrupt, the Bible is clear that both poverty and wealth come from God as a blessing, that we may use whatever blessing we have to bless others.

    Perhaps this is where I should have started; with the simple truth that blessing is a responsibility, blessing is NOT intended to just make us comfortable and make our own lives nice. I would argue that you are correct in saying that the traditional American understanding of the word “blessing” is not Biblically accurate, however a blessing comes with responsibility attached, and that is where you can apply James 1:2-3 to any blessing/trial that you come across.

    You are not incorrect in stating that you are burdened in a way with the amount of income that you receive, but I beg of you, don’t miss God’s blessing in that, and understand that the point of material blessing is stated in the Abrahamic Covenant: “I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing… and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2b-3).

    It is indeed a good thing to wrestle through, and I may be off in my thinking, but I would challenge you to study the Scripture for yourself to see if what I say is true or not.

    With love from one brother to another,
    Just a student of the Word, also trying to figure it out.

  62. First, let me say that I respect you for putting yourself out there, and I appreciate the journey you’re on. And thank you for allowing me to comment on your thoughts.

    On using the term blessed – yes, it is most often used to describe earthly riches. It is shortsighted to miss the many blessings that God gives us that, to the world, seem tragic. Pain and suffering can be a great blessing.

    With that said, God isn’t “burdening” the rich any more than he burdens the poor by giving them opportunities to suffer. We must learn to embrace the paradox that everything that happens to us is both a blessing and a curse. We can, with our hearts and our actions, take anything in our lives and make it one or the other.

    If our purpose in this life is to become children of God, then that which draws us closer to God is a blessing, and that which pushes us away from God is a curse. It is our choice.

  63. Frederick J. van Rijn

    This being (at least partially) about semantics and all–you had me until the paragraph talking about our being “lucky.” I was always taught that Christians didn’t believe in “luck.”

    • I don’t know what else it would be. Do we deserve to grow up in America with tons of junk because of some merit we possesst? Or, even more, do my friends on the streets of South America grow up, starving most days, because THEY deserve it? No…it’s eeny, meeny, miney, mo…. I don’t deserve not to starve…I lucked out and now I’m supposed to share.

  64. I have always thought about the use of “blessings” to reflect the things I’ve been given in comparison to others who may not because they are not less blessed. I do choose to say, “I’m grateful for the blessings God has chosen for me (or my family).” I feel He is very much aware of our lives and the talents and blessings that are made just for us, as are the weaknesses and trials. He knows exactly what I need to grow the most.

  65. Tami Rutledge

    Thank you Thank you Thank you! I know what it is to be truly TRULY blessed as a follower of Christ! When I was 39 I was diagnosed with Early Onset Parkinson’s Disease. That was 15 years ago. Other then salvation it has been the greatest blessing in my life because it forces me to live in the “house of mourning” focused on eternity and close to my savior daily in order to walk in obedience to HIs precious command to give thanks in everything and rejoice always!

    Here is one of my favorite passages that confirms my blessing!
    Eccl. 7: 1 A good name is better than a good ointment,
    And the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.
    2 It is better to go to a house of mourning
    Than to go to a house of feasting,
    Because that is the end of every man,
    And the living takes it to heart.
    3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
    For when a face is sad a heart may be happy.
    4 The mind of the wise is in the house of mourning,
    While the mind of fools is in the house of pleasure.
    5 It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man
    Than for one to listen to the song of fools.
    6 For as the crackling of thorn bushes under a pot,
    So is the laughter of the fool;
    And this too is futility.

    I am blessed! Physically miserable, but spiritually ALIVE and BLESSED by God and able to fulfill my purpose for living — to bring Him glory!

    Thank you!

    • EJ

      Research organic unrefined cold-pressed virgin coconut oil for Parkinson’s. It’s helped my dad tremendously. For alzheimers and parkinsons it passes the blood brain barrier and feeds the brain. I know this is way off subject. Just can’t hardly believe the difference and have to share.

  66. I really appreciated this post. It’s something my husband and I have discussed more than once. For me, I’ve begun to feel that people can be blessed by God with things they need, but those blessings also come through other people. For instance, my husband and I have an employer who pays 100% of our medical premiums. This is a huge blessing for us, especially with 3 kids with big medical needs and plenty of copays/out of pocket expenses, but those blessings only came to us because of the generosity of employers who are truly living up to their Christian ideals and giving to others. I see prosperity as a blessing meant not so much for the person who has it, but a blessing meant to be shared with others. (As you mentioned in your post, the idea of “What are you going to do with it.”) God may bless someone with material wealth, but with that comes the expectation that that person will go on and bless others who haven’t won the birth/location lottery. I feel like many of the problems in the world today come from countries or people who have forgotten that every blessing was meant to be shared and who allow their brothers and sisters throughout the world to go hungry, naked, homeless, sick, or otherwise without the necessities of life.

    (All of the above made sense in my head. Hoping it makes sense on the page.)

  67. Jan

    I completely understand what you are saying. However, I do not at all agree with your claim “My place of birth, my opportunities, and my good fortune are not a result of God’s choosing. It’s dumb luck. ” . I don’t believe anything is due to luck or chance. God is sovereign, and he is in control of EVERYTHING. I thought this was really a great article until I read that statement. I was about to recommend the article, but I won’t recommend anything that gives credit yo dumb luck.

  68. Dennis

    Seems so many of my Christian friends insist on the “as long as you believe in me” caveat after each of the beatitudes. Hard to explain that to a 6 year homeless orphan wandering the streets of Calcutta.

  69. I’m not even religious, but think this post is right on message.

  70. Oh, thank you. Just thank you. After living overseas for so many years, I cry when I hear my American friends talking about “being blessed.” Like my friends who love Jesus and sleep on the sidewalk at night are not “blessed” by God. I’ve got this stuff because I won the lottery and grew up in America with parents who won’t let me be destitute if I try. My friends on the streets didn’t. End of story.

  71. Jason

    According to this article, my home isn’t a blessing from God? So then I earned myself? I don’t agree with that. I would consider my home a gift, or a blessing from God. Just because there are people less fortunate doesn’t mean what I have been given isn’t a gift. If that is the case then God shouldn’t allow me to be blessed with sight, because there are blind people in the world, and that wouldn’t be fair to them 🙂

    • dj

      You haven’t been blessed with the gift of sight, as is obvious by your belief that your material possessions are because you have been blessed by a god. You, over so many millions of unfortunate people, have been favored? You’re blind, just not physically.

  72. Adam

    While I agree with some of the sentiment behind the thoughts here, so many people loosely toss around blessings because they do, in fact, treat God like a genie. I do believe, however, that God is just waiting to pour out blessings (and, yes, sometimes these are material in nature) upon his children. While our greatest rewards await us in Heaven at the great wedding feast, he enjoys giving good gifts now as well.

    It is not simply wrong to consider the gifts given to us by our sovereign creator (who very purposefully caused us to be born where we are – this is no accident or “dumb luck”) What is wrong is what we do with these gifts.

    And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 25:20-30, ESV)

    You see, what we do with the blessings God has poured out on our lives is so crucial. The author is right – the meek, the poor in spirit, the persecuted, the “least of these” are going to receive their full reward in Heaven, but that does not mean that that which we have received now are not gifts from God.

    This also does not mean that God somehow loves us who have much more than those who have little. There is no sense of God loving that one who was given 5 talents more than the one who was given 1 talent. I know this is just a parable, but Jesus is painting an intentional picture that I believe applies very much to us today.

    Look at Simon of Cyrene and Joseph of Aramathea. These were two of the most prominent wealthy men in scripture. They had many material blessings and what did they do with them? They sacrificed them for Christ – they did not hoard them for themselves. On the other hand, you have the rich young ruler – what did he do? He said he could not part with his material blessings. He took the gifts given by God and was not willing to recognize where these gifts came from and what the giver expected him to do with them.

    The problem is not the material blessings, it is what we do with them.

    I’ll be interested to hear your response.

  73. Anonymous

    I kind of wish us Christians could get away from telling everyone what to do and what not to do. I tell people I’m blessed when they used the word “lucky” and it gives me an opportunity to talk about Christ. I understand your point about realizing the needs of the rest of the world. However, God blesses each of us in different ways. I like your post in that it is thoughtful and makes us think about what it means to be blessed. But, can we stop already with posts about telling people what they can’t say?

  74. I once believed that my material comfort was proof that god didn’t want to smite me for the way I chose to live. Then I lost everything and knew … In a knowing deep place…. That the losing of the stuff was part of an overall lesson god provided for me about my pride. About being quiet and listening to and respecting his voice in my life.

    I now live very humbly. Sometimes I want to shop. I don’t.

    The “good and perfect things” in my life aren’t things.

    When I see someone with an SUV and a mortgage and children and pretty clothes and they say they are blessed, they look sanctimonious and plastic. It is not a way to draw people to your faith. It’s a linguistic stunt that signals to your listener that you are part of an elite group to which they do not belong. Unless they have the things you have and use the words you do. And that isn’t Christianity.

  75. Joe Bird

    A very timely message, thank you for making me consider blessings,
    I’m theologically challenged, but I will race to my Bible to find the answers or to confirm other people’s postulations.
    At this moment in time, I feel unlucky. I don’t feel un-blessed. I have felt blessed in times of prosperity and having the ability to share my blessings.
    Right now, I’m a single dad of twins boys. I’m suddenly unemployed with mounting debt. I may lose my home and possessions. I’m not being punished by having blessings yanked out from under me like a magician’s table cloth. It’s life, bad luck, and the sum total of the human condition. What I do know is, I can still bless someone’s life with the good words and deeds of Christ. And I will be happy, despite my earthly shortcomings.

  76. Sharon

    2cor 8:1-9 gives a great definition if why we r given-to enable us to give -a little or a lot. Pastor Tim at compass church
    Did a great job Sunday explaining”the showdown between scarcity and abundance.”

  77. Big Brad

    I’m an atheist and I find the. “I’m blessed” response article you wrote refreshing.

  78. I’m not sure it’s a good thing to “should” on people.
    Whatever spiritual ruler may exist inside of us, it’s meant to be turned inward, not turning it outward to “should” on people.

    I get what you are saying. I do not directly disagree the premise.

    However, I would like to say…that all good things come from above. There is nothing wrong with saying “I am blessed” in recognizing God has given us more that we had, be that material or otherwise.

    There is also a dangerous idea permeating here. To view material things as “not Godly” or even that having an abundance of resources is somehow “less holy” than having limited resources. There is a weighted judgement in the article you wrote. As if having abundance is not from God. True, He is not a genie in a bottle…granting wishes, but He is actively moved by our faith. And in our faith, and our faithfulness to be good stewards…He can and still does give us resources to be responsible for.

    Spiritual maturity cannot be bought. It is more valuable than anything the world can physically offer. We are not meant to chase after physical things, because He knows what we need and He does provide for it.

    The love of money is evil, not money itself. Material good fortune can and is given by God, there are multiple examples in the Bible.

  79. I don’t agree. Just because I have something someone else does not have does not mean it isn’t a blessing to me. God blesses us in any number of ways according to our needs and circumstances.

    • Jeane Hawkins

      Agree with you Colleen! Everything I have is a blessing from God. Say what you want I will never see it any other way. When we lived on $10.00 a week for food we somehow never missed a meal. We still thanked God for blessing us!

  80. Never assume you even know what a blessing is. You don’t. Buddhist nonattachment looking pretty good right now.

  81. “Every good and perfect gift comes down from heaven from the Father of Lights”. (might not be word-for-word correct, but that’s pretty close.) Material and financial blessings may not be the most important ones in life compared to spiritual and relational ones, etc, but they are still blessings nonetheless. Why manufacture reasons not to give glory to God?

    I agree with Colleen. People aren’t all blessed the same way at the same time. Don’t take on pointless guilt or unthankfullness over someone else’s life being different from yours.

  82. Elizabeth

    I appreciate this article. The fact of the matter is, the pervasive danger of this habit of calling the ease in our lives “blessings” goes beyond the financial. Christians also call the loving relationships they have blessings. Jesus did not express that we would be “blessed” with safety, love or kindness in our homes any more than he promised more grocery money than we need.
    When your own family betrays and abuses you, when you find you must protect yourself from violence and even rape in your own household, it stings more than I can say to listen to Christians discussing their blessings as if they believe those blessings are a result of their superior faith or worse, of His superior favor. I agree that it does have to stop.
    God would not agree that my life experience has been a result of my lack of faith, but many Christians do. There is nothing like assuming out loud in front of hurting people that God loves you best.
    I find that most Christians do not desire fellowship with those who are in pain. Gladly, my Jesus is nothing like them. Immanuel. God with me.

  83. Hans Wikström

    Thank you for this article. Such deep truths, with such a good sense of humour. I really liked it – and feel blessed.

  84. D georgelos

    Live this

  85. I understand the sentiment of what is being said, I’m not a fan of the prosperity Gospel. BUT I can’t agree about not saying that we are blessed, What about Scriptures like:

    You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth Deut 8:17-18

    The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it. Proverbs 10:22 NIV

    The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. Job 42:12

  86. Tom Greco

    I made $36 last year, ran out of my medication, and I’m close to losing my house. Tell me more about how I’m so blessed.

    • I lost my house in 2011. I’m blessed to be living in this country, raising my children in the freedom of knowing Christ. I’m sorry you don’t feel blessed. Are you reading the Bible? Do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ? Do you make regular contact with your home church, or any church to receive the assistance you need? How are you being a blessing to others?

  87. imaginethis4u

    Thank you & amen…. I am blessed despite the fact that my marriage is struggling, I am blessed even tho’ I have a new business that’s slowly growing , the bills are being paid . I am blessed that God has blessed e with another day to experience His comfort, His love , His encouragement to walk through this life & learn Edison’s that I may be a blessing to others.

  88. I am blessed because this life is not all there is. At various times, I’ve gone through the death of my parents, divorce, financial difficulties. None of that was fun, none of it felt like any kind of blessing at the time. And according to the world’s view, it wasn’t. But God had plans to bless me through those experiences and to give me an opportunity to grow in my faith and trust Him and praise Him regardless of difficult circumstances. That’s the blessing – knowing that no matter what happens in this life, I have hope and faith and life eternal through Jesus my Savior. How much money there is in my bank account has not one thing to do with that.

  89. As I sit here with one of my newborn sons on my chest I relate this to saying I am blessed or they are gifts from God. I can’t help but think they are but at the same time I know women struggling with infertility that think God is punishing them. I know this isn’t true. As much as God isn’t handing out good jobs he isn’t handing out babies… Or is he?

  90. Scott

    Great thoughts. Grateful. Blessed. Both work. And both are just words that may or may not reflect the actual heart understanding. If I’m grateful for my windfall, it can imply a humble acknowledge of my unworthiness. Or it could imply a belief that I am grateful to God for my windfall that he orchestrated on my behalf, choosing to bless me among the billions with my sweet new ride. My actions, generosity, and treatment of others will speak louder than my choice of words. But I get your point. 🙂
    Additionally, I think for some people, the choice to say things like “feeling blessed” is a way of saying “I have joy and I want to subtly announce I believe in God.”

  91. Lorenzo T Neal

    Reblogged this on Zera Today Blog.

  92. plstiv

    Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ

  93. jlynn

    “The simple truth is this: the world exists, and I get to live in it for a while. My place of birth, my opportunities, and my good fortune are not a result of God’s choosing.”

    so glad you realize this. if only you were able to go a step further and realize that there’s no significant reason to believe that a god exists never-mind one who is looking out for any of us.

  94. megan

    Thank you for putting into words what I so clumsily try to share. My husband has cancer, not the curable kind. And people so often say, “If you just pray with all your heart, if you have ‘enough’ people praying, then God will answer your prayers.” And that is hard because it makes us feel like we are praying with enough belief, or we aren’t praying correctly. Then we hear good, Christian, well-meaning people say about others, “By God’s grace he/she was healed!”, and I think it is fitting to give God the glory, but where does that leave the ones who may not be healed? Does it mean that God chose not to heal one over the healing of another? I know that God can and does heal. I do not think that we are healed by our own righteousness.
    This does not stop me from praying/pleading for healing.
    I just don’t want it to stop our children from believing…

  95. Cheri

    Amen! And I think I’d add “God is good!” to the list of things not to say when life works out the way we want it to. God IS good ALL THE TIME – even when the diagnosis is bad or we don’t get the job, etc. To say God is good when life is good implies that He isn’t good when life isn’t good. Maybe just semantics but to me, an important distinction.

    (Are you related to Kathie Dannemiller? An organization I worked for did some work with DTA years ago and I noticed you do similar work.)

    • Interesting. I have had problems with that “God is good” chant too. And you brought up a great point, I had not considered: “to say God is good when life is good implies that He isn’t good when life isn’t good.” When I think about it, this would also mean that life is in control of the nature of God…and indirectly then, we are in control of the nature of God. Thanks for the food for thought.

    • Lynn

      I so agree!!!! I’ve been saying this for a long time too! Thankful to know I’m not alone in this! I get almost angry when I hear people say that. (Great article by the way!!!)

    • Justin

      Interesting. I notice that I tend to say “God is Good.” or “I’m blessed.” when someone asks me how I’m doing or how things are and I’m about to focus in on the negatives and grumble.

      Saying those things while life seems to be going good seems nothing more than boasting. “Things are great! I got X, Y, Z. God is good!” vs “You know what? Things haven’t been all that easy lately. But you know what, it doesn’t matter. God is good and I’m still truly blessed because A, B, C.”

    • Yes!! Thank you! Have such an issue with this phrase as well! God IS God even if a diagnosis is bad, indeed.

  96. tav

    I feel blessed for man reasons and if it is appropriate to say so, I will. I think appropriate may be the key word here for me.Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

  97. Carolyn

    What bothers me here is that you don’t mention that it’s the result of hard work, persistence, and refusing to give up.

    And God specifically addresses this, with the story of sowing and reaping.

    And calling it dumb luck? Seriously? The lotto is dumb luck.

    • Yes, I’m thinking, to whom much is given, much is expected. God does give and God does take away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. I did cringe when my pastor’s wife said how blessed the church is with its land, building and to me, material trappings, and I look at the empty pews and lack of new second births. Still we gave over $135,000 to missions last year and that is a blessing. Always searching, as I think of my persecuted and impoverished brothers and sisters in Christ, praying for us. I am humbled.

      • Pastor Greg

        God does NOT give and take away. He is not schizophrenic. Job was a man outside of covenant with God. He was pre-Mosaic covenant serving God to the best of his understanding. He did say, the thing that I feared most has come upon me. That was the invitation and open door for the enemy to move upon his life. Notice that it was the devil that stole, killed and destroyed, not God. In the end, as he was humbled, repented and obeyed the voice of the Lord, God restored to him double of everything. As you are seeing empty pews in your church, you must ask yourself how many have you witnessed to, wept over in prayer and sought to win to the Lord? Are you praying daily that God would send laborers into His harvest and presenting yourself as available for that purpose? May God give you great boldness and wisdom as you win souls. It is a blessing that you have a facility to come together and worship the Lord.

    • Jonas

      What Carolyn said. “Luck” has no place in the christian vernacular.

      • It used to be called in the apostles day, ” The Way ” remember..”they which were found in that way”(sort of like some derogatory statement). I’ve never been more confused with the [Christian] definition of being a Christian. With all the TV evangelism preaching prosperity, and as our writer comments about in the article how monetary value has become ‘sum’ sort of blessing, pun intended, has skewed the true meaning so far from the truth it’s no wonder the pews beside us are empty(people can read folks)..Please take a look at the First Christian Church of Acts if you need an example of whats right or wrong. After the Holy Ghost fell and the true promise from God spilled out into the streets of Jerusalem, the very next thing which occurred was this: ” And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” (Acts 2:44-45). This they ALL done in direct obedience to a commandment of Jesus..”sell ALL that thou hast, give your money to the poor, take up your cross, and follow me.”..Do people forget the calling of God so quickly, remember when the apostles were called..”he(Jesus) saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.”(left his earthly calling for Gods calling).
        And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.(Mat 4:18-22)These unlearned fisherman(probably not able to understand -vernacular-) were feeding others, family, friends etc. It says they immediately left.
        You may shun what I am saying but whenever you rely on the things of this world to supply the needs in your life, you sweep under the carpet the opportunity to be humbled and to see the true power of God.
        Many times over in the New Testament scriptures those which were considered ‘poor'(in worldly goods) were righteously rich in Spirit…because they were following the true doctrine of Jesus Christ..
        “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”(If your righteous before Jesus calls, you’ll have to loose your own righteousness to make a place for His. God Bless in Jesus Name.

      • Charles

        What do you want to call it ??? Its simply circumstance. Nothing more.

      • Pam Kashman

        I was a bit taken aback by the “dumb luck” reference. God does nothing with an attitude of “dumb luck”. A few years ago, I was looking for a verse related to luck for the March calendar insert for the church bulletin. The word “luck” is not used in the Bible one time. My realization then is that there is no such thing as luck. Everything I have, or do not have, is by God’s grace and mercy. That is not to say that because I am more faithful, I have more (material things) than someone else. Everything is in God’s hands. He is the almighty. He is what makes this world what it is, in whatever country, culture, tribe, or person. We are all here for different reasons, and He provides what we need as individuals at the proper time in the proper amount.

      • Alice

        Amen to that. Search the Old Testament and find Luck is for the heathen, but the people of God are blessed.

      • Totally Agree “Dumb Luck”?! Really?!? I understand what he is saying, but God is always in control and Jesus said he came that we may have life and life more abundantly. In the spiritual realm and in the natural one. I do not think it is wrong to say you are blessed for material things either. God does bless us with material things as well as Spiritual ones. What you have is a combination of hard work, by chance and by God’s blessing.

    • masseytom

      Scientifically, there is no such thing as luck. It took ma a long time to understand that, and maybe most scientitsts would disagree. However, only one outcome is possible on any given event. We use the terms like “luck” and “probability” to explain things that are beyond our understanding. Like, for instance, the brazillions of events that go into the selection of a lottery number & ticket, or the brazillions of events that influenced a fatal automobile accident. Yet, for each event, only one outcome is possible, and is, by physics, pre-determined. I trust God, the master of all science.

    • Cassie

      I think luck is exactly the right word. Many people work hard for as long as they can and have noble hearts and faith. Realizing the randomness in experience but the steadfastness of faith to complete and shape our spirits is an awareness of grace and learning. Opportunity and ability are not equal to all. In a multitude of ways, it’s our hard work to create ” earth as it is in heaven.”

    • I think the “luck” part relates to where you were born and the opportunities you were granted based on the place and circumstances of your birth. Being born middle class or upper middle class in America gives you far more opportunities than being born poor in North Korea.

  98. Kevin

    Thanks for writing this. I will say I’ve felt this way for a long time. How can I call myself blessed for having so much when my brothers and sisters in other countries, example Ethiopia, have such physical oppression. I am burdened to try to send what I can to help them out. Physical stuff is material that is immaterial.

  99. Monty

    I’ve thought about this same perspective on 2-3 occasions and appreciate his point of view. I don’t agree with:”My place of birth, my opportunities, and my good fortune are not a result of God’s choosing.It’s dumb luck. ” … And there are many varied types of blessing. Jehovah Jirah is our provider, indeed. So I won’t deny any form of blessing.

    The sermon on the mount is perfect to hear what The Lord sees as important; our spiritual condition…. And some do overemphasize material/monetary provision as the sole forms of blessing.

    Yet I do think the author here paints a bit too broadly in attacking the use or the word blessing as it pertains to God’s provision.

    It’s a blessing to suffer a trial it says in James 1.
    And, also, I’m blessed when I give, pray, walk with God and His people, work, play, eat, sleep, text my wife and daughters,,,, the list goes on and on and I think we need to “count them”
    But no, God isn’t a slot machine where we pull a lever if prayer and expect the result WE want. Instead, we pray and trust He will provide spiritually, emotionally, monetarily and so on, as we trust and remain close.
    I do dislike an over emphasis on material blessing and those things can indeed be burdens many times for many reasons. I know that first hand.
    A study of the sermon on the mount is a fantastic spiritual excercise… Or “blessing”:)

  100. I don’t believe in luck. That’s the concept we should quit using. I believe in a God who is responsible for every good thing in my life. In that, I give Him all the glory.

    • Pauline Jones

      Why do bad things happen to good people. I do not feel that God ‘micromanages’ our life.

      • Shrinker57

        The Bible says: 2.Jer 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

        It is not about “luck” it is about us making the best choices (hence freedom of choice) given what God’s plans for us in life.

      • Why do bad things happen to good people? That happened once in history, and He chose it. We are all sinners, so bad things happen to us. Jesus is the only “good person” and he chose to let a bad thing happen to Him. Thank God for that gift 🙂

  101. This is excellent. I agree completely. I did not understand what it truly meant to be blessed until we lost our 25 year old son.

    • masseytom

      I am sad when I realize that my loved one’s physical life is temporary, but happy to realize that this whole world is temporary. We are blessed with loved ones, and blessed to look past today’s grief to tomorrow’s happiness.

  102. Mike

    What do you make of this? …..

    12 The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. 13 And he also had seven sons and three daughters. 14 The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. 15 Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.

    • masseytom

      God can bless one person thru poverty, and curse another with riches. It would have been a happier story if Job had died and rested in peace until the day of his eternal reward. But the purpose of the story, and the purpose of material blessings is to enrich the spirit.

  103. Maggie

    My husband and I have questioned this response (vocabulary) people use and thank you for bringing the misuse to the forefront. I have slipped a time or two when describing hope healthy and amazing our adopted baby is how we “feel” or “are” as a family; but you are right it is grateful ness, not blessings.

  104. Stephanie

    There are countless stories in the Bible about God blessing people with material wealth to bring about His long-range plan, especially in Genesis. There are also places where God says that He is the one who makes people blind or deaf, etc. (Exodus 4:11) and that this can be to bring about His glory. (John 9:3). I don’t know of anywhere in the Bible where it talks about “luck”. I have a son with autism but I don’t resent my friends who might say that they were blessed with healthy kids. Blessings come in all kinds of packages. Sorry, but I think your article is way too simplistic.

  105. Rob

    I was ok in understanding your reasoning until …..

    “The simple truth is this: the world exists, and I get to live in it for a while. My place of birth, my opportunities, and my good fortune are not a result of God’s choosing. It’s dumb luck. And if I continue to get lucky, and take advantage of the opportunities, a comfortable life may come my way. It’s not guaranteed. But if this does happen, Jesus won’t call me blessed.”

    You lost me there. You do not have a full grasp of the gospel and of God’s plan for your individual life. “Luck” has NOTHING to do with how your life turns out. Your life was planned before you were formed in the womb. Does the Bible not say, “For I know every hair on your head”? This prosperity gospel is killing the truth about God and His Son, Jesus. There is nothing we have, can say or do that will bring us closer to him. He comes to us when we have given full control of our lives to him. Sad to think that what you think you have (or don’t have) was just by “dumb luck”.

    • Pat Serio

      Thank you, Rob, for correcting someone who does not know Christ and all that He has done, and will continue to do. The longer I live, the more I see the plans God had for me, e.g. I worked in one phenomenal law office in a state different from that in which I now live. There, I learned so much and have been able to get myself on disability with the knowledge I gained. I am able to properly express myself legally when faced with more damage that Satan & family bestow upon me & my property. And, those 2 items are only a very small example of how blessed I truly am.

    • Nellie Kingma

      I totally agree!! There is no “luck” dumb or otherwise mentioned in scripture.

    • masseytom

      We could arrange a firecracker, 3 marbles and 3 targets so that when the explosion occurred, each marble hit it’s mark. It would be a monumental task, but it is achievable. God did that with the Big Bang and the number of hairs on your head.

  106. Dan

    Yes you are splitting hairs, but I totally agree. The American Christian has a warped idea of what blessed is. “Blessed art thou among woman” Mary was told, and look what her life entailed. Good article and I was blessed to read it! Pastor Dan

    • LaRhonda Cronquist

      I believe that saying I am grateful is the best response. When I say “I am blessed” it can make someone else feel as though they are not “blessed” based on their circumstance.( God bestowing blessings of material nature on some but not others.) There are evil people who have wealth and good people who love God with all their heart who have wealth. There are evil,self centered poor people and people who are angels here on earth that have nothing to their name and are so grateful in their hearts for all God has done for them! We can all find blessings in many things, nature,family,good health,great friends and yes, even material things giving to you, from hard work,education,luck or the generosity or others. But most of all I’m just grateful

  107. Pat Serio

    I have Satan & family living next door, in a pig sty they created. They have vandalized, and have had vandalized, my yard, my grass, my hedge, my clothes lines and poles, multiple times. My blessing is that I have a yard, and grass, and hedge, and clothes line, and clothes poles. I am blessed to have a car, in which I change the oil & filter, and on which I still manage to keep insurance, even though I was forced out of a dead-end job over 14 years and kept from ever working again. Yes, all these are responsibilities, but the alternative is being in the street and that that situation entails. Blessed, indeed, I am.

    • Maybe you are also blessed to have a family next door which gives you the opportunity to truly embrace Jesus’s words, “love your enemy and do good to those who hurt you.” Not to mention, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

      • Pat Serio

        Jenn: Your words are very tough to swallow. Last Sunday’s sermon in my parish was on this very topic. Check out ascensionknoxville.org and look for Fr. Christian’s written sermon (he delivers his messages without any notes and standing on the altar steps). It may take several days for the sermon to appear. There should also be an audio recording.
        I have not yet found it in me to turn the other cheek. As long as I do not lower myself to their level and lie about everything, to everyone, I will be able to look in the mirror with a clear conscience.
        Thank you.

  108. Pingback: God Is Not a Behavioral Psychologist | The Gospel According to Me

  109. Suzy Tuffendsam

    I hate the prosperity gospel but i feel that that is not the same thing as feeling blessed and recognizing that we are blessed by the things (tangible and not) that God has given us.

    The bible never EVER mentions or even eludes to luck. There are tons of verses and stories that blatantly say otherwise. The story of Joseph. What his brothers intended for evil, God intended for good. The story of Esther. Acts 17. The fact that our future is already planned out (Revelation). Just to name a few. As far as being “blessed”, I wonder if those $10 or less folks would appreciate it more if we knew what we had and were thankful for it or if we just said and acted like it was evil but kept using it. If you are on here claiming that wealth is not a blessing, not only are you , again, ignoring a ton of scripture, but you should also make sure that you aren’t playing into it. I think it is a huge slap in the face to those without $$$ to act as if you are taking up your cross and carrying it into Best Buy as you buy your big screen tv. Being comfortable is just your cross to bear in this life I guess. Should we not acknowledge that our children are a blessing from God because some people can not have them? The Lord gives AND The Lord takes away.

  110. Jenn

    I agree there is a fair amount of semantics in this argument… a person can truly feel “grateful” even if the word they use to label that feeling is blessed.

    Something my husband has taught me is that we are “enabled” by what God has given us. I feel grateful for everything that is in my life and I feel enabled to use it for God’s kingdom and purposes.

  111. Marye

    I am blessed to be a blessing…..

  112. ralph

    It’s a *sneaking suspicion, not a “sneaky” suspicion.

  113. Di

    Thank you. I’ve felt that same way for a very long time. It’s refreshing to hear someone else spell it out so thoughtfully.

  114. Debbie B

    I’m not even going to comment on the”dumb luck” part of this blog. But let me say that saying “I’m blessed” as a means to give glory to God and not my dumb luck is not wrong. Feeling blessed is a matter of perspective. And, the Bible tells is to be thankful in All things. So we all should go around feeling and saying I’m blessed no matter what we have.

  115. While I wholeheartedly agree that money and goods are not the way to measure our true wealth, we are blessed that God handles our daily bread. Without it, it becomes much harder to be a blessing to others, but certainly not impossible. Many times I say, rightfully so, that God has blessed me by allowing me to pay the mortgage after falling five months behind. This is a true blessing to me, because of the lesson of trust that it reinforced. I gave everything I had to help others, and God still made sure I got my daily bread. Is this not also in the Sermon on the Mount? “Take no thought for your life.” Learning to rely on the provident hand of God is a blessing, too.

  116. Nancy Brasch

    Great article. I dont however agree with you 100%. I am currently living higher than I was a year ago and for many years before that. I thank God for Blessing me because He has lifted the burden of heaviness off my shoulders a bit. Things will never be without some form of heaviness but I refuse to say “I got Lucky”. This is something I have prayed for and received. It doesnt in anyway make me holier than those who are not living as I am But i will continue to Praise God for my home and easier way of life.

  117. Ron Mabry

    When I visit in prison and ask believers there, “How are you?” they often say, “I’m blessed.” I agree with you about many of us saying we blessed for what we have. The inmates I know have 20 or more years. They eat low quality food, live with a high percentage of mentally ill men, do not see their children grow up or spend time with their wives. However, having found and accepted God’ love for them, they begin to live lives of obedience to God and in that they say, “I’m blessed.” They often express they are grateful for what God has done for them.

  118. Dave

    I liked your post and your desire to be sensitive to others, but in all reality you’re denying God’s desire to bless us. I’ll hold on off the bombardment of Scripture, except to post this from Ecclesiastes 3:12-13: “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.”

    Rejoice in what God has blessed you with, let others know you are grateful he has blessed you, and then in turn share the blessings he’s given you, to them. Because we give to those during our time of plenty, so that in our time of need, they can give back to us…God uses his people to care for one another.

  119. shetuck

    I agree: it is just plain old luck. I am grateful for having the article come across my desk this day.

  120. I like your heart heart here, but I believe it’s appropriate call material things blessings because God calls them blessings. “And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke and oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys.”(Job 42:12). I think the distinction we need to make is that God never promises to bless us in this way. Indeed, he makes it clear we will likely suffer for the sake of Christ. Being thankful for what God provides does not lead to a prosperity Gospel message. That being said, our satisfaction should be in Christ alone, so our joy is never dependent upon material blessings. Material wealth is a blessing that is to be used to glorify God, just like any other blessing God gives. Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

  121. Denise Wiseman

    Obviously, you shouldn’t have used the word “luck” . . . tends to send Christians over the edge . . . BUT . . . amen to what you have learned and what you know about God’s Word!! I would add “blessed and highly favored” to the sandpaper quotes from Christians. My husband just survived endocarditis/heart valve surgery and then, a few months later, cancer treatment/surgery. He was “cured” by God’s healing hand through the treatments and medical care he received. Many call us “blessed” . . . we have been greatly humbled by His Hand in these last 10 months and we say we have been shown great mercy!!!!! Thank you paying close attention to the Word . . . just give up the “luck” part! Blessing to you . . . REAL and merciful ones!!!!!!!

  122. George Crispi

    My wife and I live and work in Malawi, where the average rural income is under 50 cents a day. We will never stop saying we are blessed; re Psalm 1, Matthew 5, which you quoted in the article, as well as a host of other scriptures. As for what makes us blessed, you are correct; it’s certainly not the material, as these things more often than not take our eyes off of that which makes us truly blessed. As for our place of birth, talents, and skills, they have nothing to do with dumb luck, something my seventy years on this Earth have taught me to totally reject. If God is truly in charge of my life, luck has no place. All that being said, I believe you made some valid points on Americans’ and other Westerners’ concepts of what being blessed is about. Material wealth in and of itself is, I believe, neither bad or good. Our work here is supported by a handful of churches and friends. Most of these friends are dedicated Christians who happen to have attained considerably greater wealth than my wife or me, and give generously, and freely to a work we couldn’t do without them. They are blessed, and in return bless us and others in their work for the sake of the Gospel.

  123. I so wish that we would not reduce blog comments to picking apart the details and wording in every article someone posts but instead listen for the intent and the heart of the message. I think often our examining and criticizing of the exact wording in the 10% we don’t agree with is often a way for us to excuse ourselves from the 90% of the truth that actually applies to us but is uncomfortable to face. I don’t know about you, but I’m hearing the author express a desire to look at his heart’s condition when he talks about what “blessed” is, and he’s encouraging us to do the same. I believe scripture would confirm, too, that Christ looks at the condition of our hearts, not our ability to write a precisely worded sentence that everyone else agrees with. Thanks for this article!

  124. Curious

    Just curious…why did you start your post by saying you had a conversation where you disparaged your mother? Disparage = “regard or represent as being of little worth.” I would like to share the rest of your post with someone but hesitate because of that line. Any explanation would be helpful.

  125. Elsie Hannah Ruth Rempel

    Love your ideas! Thanks for this alternative to the prosperity gospel.

  126. Theresa

    AMEN!!!!!! Some of the most blessed people in this world are Christians living in poverty. Thank you for posting this.

  127. Reblogged this on Restlessbusinessman and commented:
    Wonderful post that defeats the prosperity Gospel message flooding our society…(sorry Joel Osteen and Joyce Myer)

  128. i appreciate what you are saying here, but i, too, am offended that you would attribute what you DO have to “dumb luck.” i think that you go on to support that God has indeed provided for you in order that you may be a blessing to others. i do not want to believe that anything at all in the world is the result of “dumb luck.”

  129. The thought has been brought up several times in the comments about why God would seem to bless some and not others (as well as what does it really mean to be blessed) – as well as comments on your statement of “dumb luck”. I don’t konw if you’ll find this relevant or not, but I wanted to see if this might help. It’s a paper I wrote for seminary, and it deals with the question of God and evil, but I think the principle might apply to this as well. Of course, itmight just be my opinion. http://russelljfellows.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html

    Hope it helps. God bless.

  130. Pingback: Using the word “blessed” | On a Red Horse:

  131. K.M. Badtian

    Balance in our walk needs reminders. This is a good reminder to not become part of the world’s way of thinking. Thankfulness of heart is a good thing. Thinking we are God’s favorites because of material prosperity,not good. Every good gift comes from the Father of light. I do think our thinking is not clear on what a good gift is. Often I apm much more fruitful for God’s praise thru my infirmities and suffering.

  132. Beth

    Thanks for the thought provoking insight – and also to all of you who responded – going through such a hard time financially since 2008 – but roof still over head and food still on the table – hard to figure out the why of God’s plan for us – hoping for revelation and understanding – working 3 jobs – but able to work , renting because lost our home, but able to rent, eating hamburger helper, but eating – sometimes blessing comes through hardship – and its not necessarily material – so although i would consider it a blessing to be financially sound – if this struggle brings blessing in another way – I’ll take it – God reveals himself in many ways – all glory be to Him – I like the word grateful – but do consider it a blessing and it made a lot of sense when my 21 year old son recently rolled his truck – totaled it -but did not hurt anyone else and walked away – I’ll take that blessing over being grateful for financial security too –

    • Pat Serio

      God’s way of describing a blessing:
      As difficult as it is to do, remember Romans 5: 1-5
      Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.

  133. Jim Boggs

    I have always said “Just dumb luck.” Sort of like the blind dog finding an occasional acorn. I am blessed, or maybe I should have said “the world has been blessed,” that I have lived this long in this opportunistic country and for that matter this incredible world with opportunity abundant and Ihave been able to share myself with all. You left off one of the most important commandments of Jesus, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” And that means all that you are, all that you have, all that you can give. (John Wesley)

  134. Carolyn Bira

    Fantastic and thought provoking. I was with you completely up until you said “dumb luck”. Dumb luck implies that God isn’t sovereign. There is no such thing as luck. If God is sovereign then my blessings and my trials are His will and I live inside of them. They fulfill His purposes and sometimes I understand those purposes and sometimes I don’t. I’m okay with His sovereign power over my life.

  135. Thank you for your words. I hope you will hear mine in the same spirit as that in which you wrote yours.

    Two thoughts I have that come from my studies: one is that we called to give blessings rather to receive. Another is that everything we have as from The Lord, even our life and the air we breathe is a result of God’s blessing for which we should be thankful. This segues into my unintentional, but no less necessary thought, that we are to bless The Lord at all times, giving thanks for everything in every situation in all the places of our life. Paul was praising and thanking God while in prison even.

    And then I re-read your post to uncover that you wrote that you “feel” blessed. But, “to be blessed” is not a feeling (as of accomplishment) but a status accorded by God. You wouldn’t say “I feel cursed” would you? Maybe that is a nitpick, but to me it is no more or less a nitpick than to remind ourselves that love is not a feeling either, but an act of other-directed willing. I don’t mean to imply that you shouldn’t feel that The Lord has blessed you from the High Places, but that you -and I- should realize that if we are blessed it is so we can in turn bless others.

    If we truly wish to live into a Theology of Blessing though, we would do well to consider that blessings are normally paired with a cursing ( or a ‘woe’ in New Testament terms), that blessing follows upon obedience and cursing follows upon disobedience. And then remember that we who live under Grace and not as under the obligation of law are nonetheless not free to disobey.

  136. Dean Starovasnik

    As an aside, in a universe in which there is a sovereign God (who, by the way is not contained by that universe), there is no room for luck. Either He is sovereign or He is not; no middle ground. But to the main point of the posting, the use of the word blessing in today’s vernacular is at odds with its meaning in Jesus’ day. In His day, “blessed are you…” would be more comfortably translated, “happy are you…” You see, by ordering our lives by His priorities, we find happiness both in spite of and because of our circumstances. “In spite of…” when we see the results of sin polluting the world around us and our existence in it. And “because of…” our position as His children, chosen, beloved and yes, blessed. He showers us with blessings both in this world and the next though this world’s may be less visible or obvious. Nonetheless, we are “blessed” as Paul reminds us of David’s exclamations in Rom 4:6-8 because our sin has been forgiven and fellowship with that aforementioned sovereign God is both possible and restored to us, His creations. Oh, praise the One who paid my debt….

  137. Thanks so much for this post. Great observation and Truth that the Lord has shown you and thanks for your faithfulness to share it.
    Mike Hickman
    http://www.mikehickmancomedy.com

  138. Sarah T

    Another thought to add to the discussion- Acts 17:26-27 “From one man {God} made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the exact times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.

  139. D.

    for those of you picking on the word “luck”, the Bible does say “the same rain falls on the just and unjust alike” (Matthew 5:45) – i think this is all the writer is saying. calm down, and try to get the point of the message.

  140. TP Thompson

    This article really Blessed me …. Lol
    But it’s true ! Thank you for this insight I will take this with me for sure. The truth of the matter when asked , How are you doing ? My reply should always be , better than I deserve .
    Great word ! Thank you for that.

  141. Ron

    Short response:
    My wife and I don’t have the sort of *financial* blessings some would consider in this situation, but we have enough. We have a roof over our heads when many, even here in the US, do not. We have food. And though it burns oil and creaks any time we hit a small bump … we have a vehicle.

    But yes, the author here is correct. Blessings cannot be kept in a bank account or parked in a driveway. They are given to us daily, without failing and without reduction by a Father God that loves us so deeply he took on our form, lived among us, taught us the REAL meaning of blessings, and then DIED for our sins.

    I am truly and richly blessed. I am also grateful beyond description or words. (and yes, for me that IS a short response)

  142. As I read these comments, I feel a lot of you have missed the point of what was being said. Consider the fact that I was one of those people who were not financially stable and struggled through most of my life to keep a roof over my head. Then consider how I might have felt when someone walked up and began to testify how “God gave me a new car; I’m really blessed”. Or “My son got the job of his dreams” or “You ought to see what God’s done for me! I just got….” and they are all “thanking Good” for the ‘good things’ that have occurred. I’m reeling backward with the strong impression that God doesn’t love me. I know that because I don’t have and don’t get free gifts. It took a long time for me to realize that I got the gift of endurance, of abiding faith in his love, of the realization that “all things work together for good” and the life he set for me to live was planned and destined for me so I could become more kind and compassionate, and understand more fully how God’s love fills and overflows in ALL circumstances. Try being blessed because God doesn’t give you stuff that will destroy your walk with him. Try being blessed because you lost a $30,000 job because of downsizing. Try being blessed because you’ve been diagnosed with cancer. Most of all be blessed that “I know the plan I have for you….for good and not for evil, that you might come to an expected (the one I expect you to have) end”

  143. Mary Kavanaugh

    Such powerful words. Great article. It reminds me of a conversation between my neighbors. One neighbor had just suffered through two miscarriages in a row. The other neighbor spoke of how “blessed” her daughter was to be pregnant with twins. The look on my neighbor’s face that had miscarried is one I’ll never forget. I appreciate the greater, deeper meaning of what you put forward in this article.

  144. Much ado about nothing. Straining at gnats to swallow camel.

    • S Robinson

      Luck has nothing to do with your position or place in life. God has put you where you are.! Only He is sovereign! Yes you should be grateful but you are blessed too. James 1:17 says every good gift comes from the father ……
      Much to do about nothing I think

      • deb

        Could not agree with you more! Those beatitudes he quotes have nothing to do with our material wealth or lack of it. Much ado about nothing is absolutely what came to mind when I read this!

    • Jessica Cassidy

      I really believe that it is a state of the heart. I do not believe being prosperous in itself should be called anything different than an actual blessing. Since we serve a sovereign God, all things good and bad are within His control. If our hearts are geared towards making Him a “genie in a bottle” to suit OUR needs, then of course, that is sinful and evil. We should never think of God as serving US rather than US serving Him. I absolutely agree with that. I, however, have to disagree that we should not call what we have in our lives blessings as you do not know each and every person’s former state. I, for example, lived a life of hunger and homelessness, and God brought me away from that and I have a beautiful home now, my husband has a steady job and we are doing well financially. I don’t believe that what we have could have ever happened without Him as I give Him 100% glory for all He has done in me, through me and in despite of me. I do not take for granted the these “things” that I have and am very content with what I have (meaning, I do not seek more than what I have or wish for more). Every day I wake up is a blessing as nothing is guaranteed. The fact I have food on the table is a blessing as I know what it is like to be without (and I don’t think God wasn’t there for me when I was starving… but since He knew all things, going through such trials made me the strong servant I am now). Yes, my health is an absolute blessing as I have seen those I loved wither away from cancer and suffer with their diseases. I believe to be grateful is all that is needed…again, a state of the heart. I do disagree with the health, wealth and prosperity gospel as it is NOT due to sin that those who are struggling do not have. I have a dear friend who is such a strong and devoted Christian suffer more than anyone I have ever witnessed, and I would call her blessed in her situation b/c I absolutely see how her faith has grown and how God has changed her heart to be even more like His. All blessings are tailor-made for each individual….what one has may be a sin for the other to have. We just cannot make blanket statements that calling ourselves blessed is not right for even the bible tells that God calls us blessed, redeemed, forgiven, accepted, loved, adopted and more than conquerors. I choose to not steal the glory from God and give Him all the credit for who I am, what I have, and what I have accomplished in life, b/c without Him, I am absolutely nothing. George Mueller had over a million dollars go through his hands to run an orphanage and he relied solely on prayer. They key was that he held everything in an open hand. God was free to take it or to give it, but it was up to God and Mueller was sure of it. That is how we have to be. Money in itself is not a sin…being prosperous is not a sin, but do you have your hand wide open so if God wanted to take it, he could. That was the problem with the rich man that wanted to be the disciple of Jesus…he walked away as his possessions were too great the scriptures tell us. He was not willing to give up (state of the heart) what he owned as he stored up his treasures here instead of in heaven. Jesus came for our sin and our hearts…period.

    • Learning to move forward in God is straining at gnats, if that’s what he speaks to you about.
      I don’t however see any camels here.

    • The “dumb luck theology” completely ruined this article. That is as foreign to scripture as the prosperity gospel!

  145. Dave Dorn

    What I meant to say was the article was right on, not the comment. Jesus is the blessing!

  146. Lana

    Best to say “God be with you”. As we say in the liturgy…..The Lord be with you”. “And also with you”

  147. Lana

    Or “go with God”

  148. this article is such a blessing…er…I mean I’m thankful for it. Some good insights. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  149. I’ve made this argument approximately 2,657,321 times (give or take when accounting for exaggeration and the fact that I never really counted.) You know what I’ve seen when making the argument?
    1) “When Jesus told the rich man he couldn’t be a disciple because of his wealth, he only meant THAT SPECIFIC MAN” … so eyes of needles need not apply.
    2) A lot of nodding in agreement and “amens” then continued hoarding of wealth in the face of poverty stricken neighbors.

    So what you say isn’t, “much ado about nothing.” It is spot on. Because thinking that any deity thinks so much of you that you have a BMI in each slot of your 3 car garage while millions of people starve (millions who could EASILY BE FED BY THE WEALTHY CHRISTIANS OF THE WORLD) is beyond hubris. It teeters on evil.

    “The simple truth is this: the world exists, and I get to live in it for a while. My place of birth, my opportunities, and my good fortune are not a result of God’s choosing. It’s dumb luck. And if I continue to get lucky, and take advantage of the opportunities, a comfortable life may come my way. It’s not guaranteed. But if this does happen, Jesus won’t call me blessed.” <– outstanding.

  150. Christians Ruin Christianity

    Why are the wealthiest people in America usually white? Does God hand out more blessings to white people than people of color? Do white people have more faith?

    • esbg

      no…and thats the point of the article. The writer wishes to avoid these uncomfortable questions by denying that material things are blessings. I think the proper view should be based on our expectation of blessings. We are not doled out blessings based on our actions…just as we are not doled out salvation based on our actions. However, I contend that it is still okay to view your successes as blessings. Our material success is often in compliance with our hard work and our wisdom but not always. Of course there are those that just get “lucky” if you believe in that kind of thing…and then there are those that are “unlucky” even when they work hard and make good decisions. You can’t completely and concretely tie the two together because its not black and white cause and effect. There are more mysterious things in the works, beyond our understanding and vision. I think a person really needs to understand that to be content wherever they are. The reason I think it is okay to call material successes “blessings” is because the very fact we can do anything we do, is simply because of God. I consider life in general to be a blessing. I don’t, however, turn around and wonder why Im no longer being “blessed” when things are looking down or when Im so poor I have no place to live. I look for the blessing inside the turmoil. When I don’t see anything, I still trust Gods hand because I know his ways are mysterious. The very fact that I am here and have a savior is a blessing, so I am really truly never without blessing. We should never expect to be materially or physically blessed or attach it to our works. I also don’t think we should discard material blessings as just a worldly thing, as though God no longer has a hand in the little aspects of our life. I know that is not true. God is sovereign. Thinking that you are not “blessed” in life is just wrong thinking. Its easy to look at your life and think you must be an outcast because you’ve had the short end of the stick when it comes to life and possessions. I can honestly say that most of the time its because you have brought it on yourself through lack of responsibility, etc. Simple, logical cause and effect but we all tend to be blind and not accept our own failures….easier to blame it on God. And then sometimes like they say, bad stuff just happens to good people. When that happens, its my experience that those people tend to be more blessed by the end of it and they grow as a person ( a blessing in itself). We need to accept that blessings come in all shapes and sizes. Don’t knock the people who choose to see everything that happens to them as a blessing from God…including the material successes. Instead of avoiding uncomfortable conversations or questions, knock the ones who choose wrong thinking and blindness when things don’t go their way and they don’t have as much “success” as others. Their definition of success is not a godly one…they are the ones trying to get God to fit into their molds. It only “reduces The Almighty to some sort of sky-bound, wish-granting fairy who spends his days randomly bestowing cars and cash upon his followers” to those who are not in right thinking. So a question remains…should we change the way we talk about our blessings and God, so as to not give the wrong impression to those who don’t quite get it yet? Or should we confront the real problem which is works based blessing and salvation. Changing my verbiage does nothing to teach those who don’t. Instead perhaps, it opens a door for a discussion on expectations of blessings, works based thinking and most importantly, the definition of blessing and riches.

    • Are you saying white people are not “people of color”? My skin is beige.

  151. Steven Miller

    I agree that it is a folly to believe that we are only blessed if we are prospering financially. Job lost everything, yet in the end, he had everything thanks to our Father in Heaven.
    However, I believe that The Lord allows us to prosper at times if we keep His commandments, work hard, and seek riches for the intent to do good to others: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
    Final thoughts, the author of this article has fabulous intent and has many blessings, but is a little radical and is straining at a gnat while swallowing a camel. Let’s work on having charity, since that is lacking substantially in the world. There is some good in this reading, though.

    • Is it radical? Wasn’t Jesus a radical? Were not his apostles radical? Is it radical or just scary to make such a commitment to one’s faith?

      “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Also Mathew. . .

      For a faith so into parables and symbolic second testament apologetics and explanations, I find it peculiar that “all things” would be taken literally.

      Maybe material wealth isn’t part of “all things”? After all, if God allowed those who best follow his commandments to have all material things added unto them… someone would have to make a lot of really big needles or tiny tiny camels.

      PS. If more christians were charitable.. working on charity would be much less work.

  152. Linda

    I really do not understand this article. I feel saying blessed is not a bad statement. I have felt blessed in the good and bad times of my life. I do not use that when I get a new car or any material things, but when God is with me when I have tribulations. God is with me at all times, even if I lose control. Dumb luck has nothing to do with God! We are all blessed because God is merciful!

    • I don’t think he means that it’s wrong to say you are blessed, just that Christians sometimes throw the phrase around carelessly with regards to material goods.

    • It sounds like you understood it just fine. if 1 Thessalonians 5:18 is your text of choice, as it sounds like, then you do “get it.” You aren’t the problem addressed by the article.

  153. Reblogged this on CHEERS and commented:
    Wow. This is a powerful one. I too find myself saying the words “blessed” as easily as I say hello to a passing stranger. It makes me wonder why I consider those things blessings and how I should perhaps re-evaluate the kind of God I have created in my mind. What I should be pondering is what HE tells us it means to be blessed and regardless of all earthly circumstances remain in a state of eucharist and thankfulness.

  154. Pingback: God is perfectly just, but he isn’t “fair” | Rev. Brent L. White

  155. Michael

    stupid article

    • Clearly you did not understand it. See my comment below.

    • Carlos

      I clearly understood and agree. This IS a stupid article. I’m so tired of people trying to pawn off their own opinions as truth. God’s Word clearly illustrates His favor on those that are obedient to Him throughout His Word. The accounts of Joseph, Esther, Daniel, David clearly show obedience linked with God’s favor. And “yes”, they were blessed. The nation of Israel is blessed. The United States is blessed. Do I know the answer to this? No, not exactly, other than the fact that at one time this nation chose to honor God and His Word. Can the blessings we inherited through obedience cease? I don’t know but I certainly don’t want to find out.

  156. I surely get what you are saying as I cringe when I or someone else says this. Yet, here in Job 42:12 it says “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.” and it goes on to name many physical and material blessings God gave to Job.
    This does not mean that faithfulness equals material blessings by any means. But I think there is a bigger danger not to credit God when indeed you are blessed (or feel blessed).
    Perhaps, like many “religious” words today, it comes with some baggage from how we have used it. That’s our problem, though.

  157. This is a fascinating take on the issue. I had come to the same conclusion by a different route. My background is in philosophy as well as theology, psychology, and Biblical studies, so I have spent a good amount of time reflecting on theodicy (the problem of evil). Generally speaking, we avoid attributing evil to God. But what happens when you acknowledge that God does act in the world from time to time? If we always give God credit for all of our “blessings” does that not provoke the question as to why God does not intervene to “bless” others? The dark side of the miracle comes when people who have seen others get their “healing miracle.” Why didn’t God heal me of the same affliction? The conclusion should be coming clear: If all good things are to be attributed to God then all bad things can also be attributed to God by virtue of God’s inaction to prevent bad things. If God is always “blessing” me, then God must hate a lot of other people, as evidenced by God not “blessing” them.
    Here is another argument: human beings are mortal, human beings pray to God for healing and protection, therefore sooner or later prayers for healing and protection are not going to work.
    One cannot answer these questions by simply saying those who do not receive blessings are not worthy of blessings. The book of Job is the example of an individual who did not deserve the misfortunes that befell him. Jobs friends are chastised for implying that he must have done something to deserve his misfortunes.
    The point is that is is not wise to attribute all the good things in our lives to God’s action just as it is to not attribute all bad things to God’s inaction. Be careful how you use the word “blessed!”

  158. Pingback: What is my blessing based on? | just passing through

  159. Islandgirl

    As far as you mean material wealth as evidence of God’s favor, you are right, but scripturally our needs ARE met when we obey God’s commandments (including bringing Him our first fruits), walk in His ways & always, always, give Him credit for all good things – scripture says they all good things are “from above”! It is NOT luck, nor random, but a promise that God is Jehovah Jireh – He is the author of our plan & we are charged to help the widow & the fatherless and share our bounty with the poor, not decide why they are poor. I agree re the beatitudes, but in the Hebrew mindset (vs our Greek mindset) BOTH are true, blessings are first spiritual and also material, provision WAS done for the apostles and they also suffered. The problem is that hearers (and sometimes the speakers) don’t know scripture or the Hebrew mindset with which scripture was inspired, it’s about Doing, not knowing or understanding…it actually says sufficiency, blessing and Gods favor ARE found in keeping His commandments, we just don’t know what “sufficiency” looks like or stop with that, our motives/heart are wrong, or the hearer is breaking one of the top 10 with envy! By the way, blessings come from DOING what God told us (or not doing, like not worrying..casting our anxieties) Luke 6:38 – Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
    Philippians 4:19 – But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
    James 1:17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

    Give God all credit for all good things (see above)… in adverse circumstances, our enemy is at work like with Job but we don’t pretend to understand why..in every situation He is with us – THAT is a testimony with more power to compel others to walk with God!
    Blessings to you!! Numbers 6:24-27

    Ps – Charles Capps went to be with the Lord today, I highly recommend his book The Tongue, a creative force. If you want to better understand the power of words & blessing scripturally!

    • If all good things come from above then all bad things necessarily come as a result of God’s deliberate inaction, or God’s impotency to stop bad things. Or maybe those scriptures were not meant to be understood the way you are using them.

      • Carlos

        No, you’re falling into the trap of “blaming God”. This is the same logic people use when they say, “If God is a loving God, why do bad things happen”? What you’re forgetting is that God allows us to make our own choices. Sometimes the “bad things” happen as a result of our own choices OR as a result of inheriting bad choices that were made by other people in our lives. The other force in play is Satan. If you believe in God then you have to believe in the adversary; Satan. The Bible tells us that he lurks and prowls around like a lion seeking to devour. We live in a fallen sinful world as a result of original disobedience, i.e. “bad choices” that were made.

    • Philippians 4:19 – But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

      The word here is NEED. I think we can’ know what sufficiency is. To pretend we don’t is dishonest at best.

    • Psalm 24:1 The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it …”

      And everything else that has been quoted in the comments to debunk the blog post.

      Maybe they could read Emmet Fox’s Sermon on the Mount and his beautiful essay on The Lord’s Prayer. As cradle Catholic I used to hold many of the views of these bloggers, and I was taught to feel bad if wanted a decent life, etc — because oh, those people in XYZ place have nothing.

      Well, there’s a beautiful blog written by a lady named Clyo Beck and her life story reads kind like mine, and then she started putting the principles of Joseph Murphy and others into play and changed her thinking. Her lift turned around incredibly — spiritually, financially, mentally — she was inspired to create an incredible blog, write a beautiful book of prayers. As Clyo puts it “you can’t help others unless you help yourself first.”

      These people should be grateful that God gave them the material ability to be able to go be missionaries. Many people would like to do this but are barely treading water themselves. One such woman was Cynthia Stafford. She read Joseph Murphy’s books. She was in a really bad situation when she did this — you can google her story. She wrote down an amount of $112 million. She was not a regular lottery player, but one day the Mega Millions was $112 million. She got a $2 QuickPick and won.

      She has always been a giver and that was her first move after she won this money. To this day she lives well, she gives and gives and gives, and she has many, many times more now than the $63 million (after taxes were taken out of the $112 million) she won on Mother’s Day in 2007. Every once and a while she does a small interview and she says the same thing all the time — that she knows where this blessing came from and she never forgets it.

      The media and others like to portray the few big lottery winners that “blew it all” and then called their winning a curse. There are far more winners that have used their “blessing” to help their families, build businesses (that provides jobs), and help other people in other ways — and most of them stay anonymous.

      The Psalms are very instructive: We will go through suffering, but God will always pull us through if we turn to God and trust him. Job is one of the best stories on this. Do you honestly think that after Job became far more prosperous (all in material goods, BTW) after his trials, that he said I don’t feel blessed, because God didn’t do this, I was just “lucky”?

  160. JJ Mank

    Unscriptural garbage. There are many ways God can bless. The spiritual ways mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount are only a few. You are ignoring a host of scriptures that talk about not only blessings, but material blessings, And although you used the word “semantics” correctly in context, you seem to be lacking in your study of words. The word “blessing” is interchangeable with “benefit” or “gift.” The word “blessed” as spoken by Christ in the sermon on the mount implies a state of happiness or well-being. This indicates that we have a sense of happiness, joy, satisfaction, spiritual/emotional health as a result of following the beattitudes. It is a separate issue, and does not indicate that tangible benefits are not blessings. There are a host of scriptures stating that our blessings (benefits, gifts, etc.) come directly from God. James 1:17. Jeremiah 29:11. Romans 8:28, and HUNDREDS more! As for dumb luck, if that is really what you believe, then how dare you pretend to be writing a biblical blog??? The Bible is very clear that our lives are orchestrated by a personal God who IS affected and whose hand IS moved by our behavior and our prayers. This article is a misuse of God’s precious word, and was a waste of time. 😦

    • I suppose if 5-point Calvinism or pesher interpretation is your thing then you would see this blog as unscriptural garbage. To my way of thinking a text without a context is a pretext for it to mean whatever you want it to mean. To cite Jeremiah 29:11, for example, tells me you don’t have a clue as to its original Ancient Near Eastern context.

    • Carlos

      I couldn’t agree with you more! 🙂

  161. I really loved this article and it caused me to realize what an anorexic view of the word “blessed” I have, and how much more I want to see other things in my life as a blessing! I have to say, too, that Deut 28 DOES list financial and material gain as “blessings,” so I can’t say that I agree with you 100% on this matter, I appreciate what you’ve written very much!

  162. DB

    The most uncomfortable line in the whole article is “My place of birth, my opportunities, and my good fortune are not a result of God’s choosing. It’s dumb luck.” He knew you in your mothers womb, not a sparrow falls from the sky without him knowing yet you refer to your life as ‘dumb luck’. From this side it seems like you are giving Him far to little credit. Prosperity Gospel is abused and totally false but that does not mean you shouldn’t thank Him for what you have or that what you have is only a result of you. The gifts you have (material and personal) and the people and geographic location in your life are a direct result of God’s plan.

  163. Natalia

    I think this is really thought-provoking and certainly worth thinking about. My only major qualm would be your comment towards the end about your circumstances being outside of God’s choosing and being a result of purely “dumb luck,” as you put it. I think that’s false, as all things are within God’s sovereignty.

    More along the lines of your article, I think it would be fair to say that God did place you in these circumstances, but that they are part of your cross to bear. Just as Christ challenged the rich man in the Gospels, so, too, are those of us living in the comforts of American society (and in the comforts of any society around the globe) and convenient accommodations challenged with Christ’s words to renounce worldly things and seek first the Kingdom of God.

    I think this was a very interesting piece, but that was my biggest issue with it. I’ll have to give more thought to your suggestion that feeling blessed ought to have little to do with the material fortunes we are granted and more to do with the spiritual fortunes. I definitely think there’s something to that, though I’m not sure I’m entirely convinced that it’s totally accurate (I think that there are material things that can certainly be counted as God’s blessings, too, but I do think we lay too much emphasis on material blessings and not enough on spiritual ones). Definitely a great read, and thank you for your thoughts and time!

    Pax Christi,
    Natala

  164. Julie

    I’m feeling loved. Feeling responsible. Bleesed by the gifts of my children.

    • Michael

      And according to this article, feeling blessed by the gifts of your children is offensive to everyone who is not able to have children.

  165. Nellie Kingma

    You are truly blessed my friend for by the grace of God you could have been born in Africa. Everything you have is a blessing from God whether you want to call it that (or not).

    • Why would it be a blessing to not be born in Africa? That comment can be interpreted as racist. I have a friend who was born in Africa, and I suspect she would take issue with your statement.

  166. Clint

    I think you nailed it. There are many preaching exactly like you put it God wants you to be wealthy now donate here. I was once taught a phrases that causes me to ponder its meaning fully and that it “There but for the Grace of God go I “. Are they less in grace are they less blessed. I think not as you so aptly wrote

  167. Be blessed with opportunity is something to be thankful for. In the end we are all stewards in Gods kingdom. Giving glory to God for things we have is a form of worship. There are both good points and bad points to this article.I believe we all should help our fellow man, but to not say that I am blessed would be insane. It is God’s miracles working in my life that get me where I am and not just dumb luck! Being wealthy is not a burden it is a blessing. It gives you the ability to help other people who may be struggling. Now the choices that you make in how you use your wealth is the free will that is instilled upon you by being human. You can choose to be a blessing to others or you can choose to hoard your riches. In your heart you know what is right.

  168. Anthony

    Christians so concerned over whether they should use the word “blessed” when thank thanking God for all things is the bigger issue here. Such semantical issues are meaninglessness. American Christians spend so much time arguing peripheral theology that they often forget about getting involved in the real issues in the world in relation to the Gospel. Jesus isn’t going to care whether you used the word blessed right. He will care whether you shared the good news of Christ to the farthest reaches of the world with every resource he gave you. Don’t get caught up in menial disputes. Focus on Christ and him crucified.

    • Carlos

      Amen, Anthony! I totally agree! I’m so tired of people who feel like their opinion is so worthy they must proclaim it to all. How about proclaiming God’s Word, (as you mentioned)? !

      • Carlos, do you know anyone who is a divinely inspired, inerrant, infallible interpreter of the Bible? I don’t. Are you familiar with the Talmud (either one)? There is value to debate on the interpretation of the Bible. How do you decide what the message of God’s Word is that needs to be proclaimed? Is it just you and the Holy Spirit, regardless of what the rest of the church thinks? There are a lot of different Christian denominations, many of which think their way is THE TRUTH. They don’t always agree with each other, but they all believe the God is present with them. Who is right?
        I am sure there are things we could agree on, but I am just as sure that we don’t agree on everything.
        You mentioned earlier that if you believe in God then you have to believe in Satan, but there is no universally agreed upon understanding of who or what Satan is. Not all Christians believe in Satan either. I get concerned when Christians start talking about Satan in ways that sound more reminiscent of Zoroastrianism than any monotheistic religion.

  169. Pamala

    I love this article!!! I finished my degree in business and can’t get a job or promotion in fact I got reduced hours. It is hard not to be discouraged and thinking was all those long nights with no sleep working and school and church worth it or not?

  170. Bob

    I liked the article except for one paragraph at the end which was anti-God’s sovereignty (ex: my place of birth is not God’s choose, but dumb luck). In fact I had to read the paragraph 3 times because I thought after such a great article I must be reading it wrong. Delete that paragraph my friend. Of course, his blog IS called “The Accidental Missionary” LOL

  171. Erin

    I very much disagree with this: “My place of birth, my opportunities, and my good fortune are not a result of God’s choosing. It’s dumb luck.” First of all, it’s not Biblical (see Acts), and it makes God out to be an impersonal God….”well, I dropped ’em and I hope they landed in a good place…I’ll see ’em on the flip side when they die.” I get the point of the article, but I think it could have been done without being unbiblical.

  172. Robin

    I disagree with this. God gives Christians spiritual blessings, but He also provides physical blessings–to the believer and unbeliever alike. Thankfully, God is not a communist, in that He does not hand out identical blessings to every person. We have three children. Our neighbors down the road have eight. I think many people would agree with calling all those children blessings. The fact that I have fewer does not cause me to feel that if I had been more faithful we might have been given more. The prosperity doctrine is a load of garbage, and has probably shipwrecked the faith of a lot of people, who can’t figure out why their fortunes haven’t been miraculously deposited in their bank accounts. But that doesn’t mean that the money and possessions they do have aren’t blessings. It all belongs to God anyway, and is only on loan to us to use for His glory. So I’ll call what I have–spiritual and physical–blessings, and thank God for them.

  173. Matt Osenga

    Of course our material blessings are from God. God chooses to bless some more than others, but it is certainly NOT dumb luck. That is really making God much smaller than he is. He also gives us the ability or motivation to take advantage of the opportunities that he blesses us with. Are the blessings the result of our faithfulness? Are those with relatively fewer material blessings in this world therefore less faithful than those that are blessed with more? Of course not. God chooses to send rain on the good and the evil. We are not able to understand God’s ways on this side of heaven, but we are able to understand from the bible that all of his gifts to us are blessings. Hardships can also be blessings. At times, God is trying to teach us patience, perseverance, to come back to him if we fall away, etc. My God is too great to leave me to dumb luck.

  174. chunling

    If you have wealth, then either give it all away or acknowledge it as a blessing. Don’t keep it for yourself, claim it isn’t a blessing, AND say that this is somehow more righteous.

    The best thing to do is, of course, to acknowledge that wealth is a blessing from God, give it all away, AND admit that you are unworthy.

  175. Cytoplasm

    To whom are you grateful? And for what reason are you grateful to them, what role have he/they/it played in your circumstances? It occurs to me that while a God that blesses people in different amounts and in different ways may seem unfair, its not something that necessarily logically contradictory. It may certainly be problematic to attribute our negative circumstances to God, particularly without evidence. However that doesn’t logically necessitate the opposite, that all our positive circumstances aren’t necessarily from God. James 1:17 James 1:17
    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or [a]shifting shadow.. Though to be fair the determination of what is good and perfect can be tricky. It may be a bit arrogant to claim certain things as a blessing when one doesn’t have direct revelation to the effect.

  176. Really, I think most of these arguments (arguments about the blessed and the not-so-blessed) are irrelevant when you look at our lives the way God must surely look at them. I have come to think that God looks at our lives on a continuum, which includes our lives after our time on this earth. We were created to be eternal beings. And I once heard a very old lady say, ‘Our time on this earth should be considered as one night in a very bad hotel when we think of our eternity with our Saviour.’ That’s what got me thinking this way. So I try to remember that God’s plan for my life doesn’t end in 85.1 years (give or take) I’ll spend on this earth. We know that in Heaven, we’ll all have a purpose – a role to fill in glorifying God. So then, why should my ‘story’ begin and end with my earthly existence? Did He ever limit His blessing to us to this phase of our eternity? Should we not consider that the time spent in this imperfect world is but a blip on the screen in comparison to eternity? Surely, those who have suffered poverty, illness, war, persecution, abuse, etc. while still holding firm to His Faithfulness and Unfailing Love will fine a commensurate reward in Heaven. Which goes to remind us how fleeting our earthly rewards are; how pathetic we are to strive for them. It’s eternity that matters.

  177. Pingback: Does God Bless Us in the “Things”? | Words From a Feather

  178. kc

    I feel there are far better things Christians could stop saying:
    “God hates gays”
    “God hates whores”
    “God hates….”
    “Your going to hell.”

    Or any other round about bigotry statement made in the name of faith. Just a thought.

  179. joanne

    I agree that we use the word blessed wrongly. I have gone through difficult financial times in my life when I desperately prayed to God to meet our physical needs. I was just as blessed by God during those times as I am today when my material needs are met abundantly. The danger of mistaking blessing for material blessings is that we do not feel blessed during the hard times and we feel very blessed when we have an abundance of things. That is exactly the opposite of what the bible says. God is very near to us when we are struggling.

  180. Jara C.

    I completely agree! I think for now on, I will try to say, “I am fortunate” when speaking about material things.

    • Cytoplasm

      Fortune is etymologically derived from chance/fate/luck from the Latin. It is often personified as a deity. That might not be the right descriptor.

      • Cytoplasm

        Most of the words you could pick that describe the general range of concepts you’re thinking of are in some way derived from supernatural origin whether pagan or Christian.

  181. Thanks for a well written theological piece here. After spending much time in Kenya and seeing the poorest of the poor live with gratitude, joy and generosity all while being so very faithful to the ways of Jesus, I submit that the biblical text of which you speak, the Sermon on the Mount, is indeed the reality of today.

    For us to believe that wealth makes us happy, joyful or faithful is a misnomer that ignores the teachings of the Creator.

  182. People have what they have not because God has bestowed it upon them, like wealth is something that must be granted by the grown-ups (God being the grown-up here), and you can only attain it if the grown-ups give it to you because you did something worthy of it. Wealth is a matter of the universal law, God’s law mind you, of cause and effect. Do the things that lead to wealth; provide value, eliminate debt, increase earnings, etc., and wealth will naturally follow. God is not involved in the equation. If He were involved, then He would be a liar when, in His Word, He said “I am no respecter of persons.” Why then would God glorify and build one and destroy another? Where’s the justice there? Where’s the love and grace?

    You are who you are, have what you have, and experience what you experience because of what you think and believe. Because your thoughts and beliefs determine your actions and your actions produce the results in your life. The true blessing is that you were born. That you woke up this morning.

  183. Ann

    Very wise article. We are “blessed” simply to have been created on this beautiful Earth. God gave US the free will to make the most of what we have. Some of the people who were born the richest can be the most unfortunate in the long run. Some of the poorest can turn out to be saints. Or vice versa.

  184. PJ

    I think I am going to have to disagree with you on this one. I don’t disagree with how some Christians perceive blessing from a purely financial standpoint, but when someone “feels” blessed, I can guarantee you that 100% of the time, they are not wrong about it. The error in theology isn’t recognising you are blessed, but juxtaposing periods of more or less blessing and equating more money with more blessing. Recognising that you are blessed isn’t an error, it is the “not recognising you are blessed” that is– because like many spiritual things, blessing is multifaceted and just because you experience blessing on one area, doesn’t mean that other areas are negated.

    When we experience a life filled with many other types of blessings, the money one becomes more minor. Many western Christians that I know walk around without an experience of a full-dimensional blessing in their lives and they have a very simplified view of blessing. In my experience, people who equate (to near exclusivity) financial blessing with blessing in general, are the most emotionally miserable people I’ve met. They walk around unaware of the different blessings in their life and are usually consumed with enterprises of great pith and moment– seeking their blessing they are owed.

    Here is where I see the error in your perspective. We wealthy Americans are financially blessed at a ridiculous level. Sure we may be lacking other blessings for a host of reasons, but if we accept all things as from the Father we cannot deny our financial blessings are real genuine blessings. Telling Christians that they should stop recognising this blessing is odd. People who genuinely feel blessed are often more generous. I know people who earn insane amounts of money, but somehow feel they are being cheated in this life and are stingy, swindling, entitled pigs. They have no sense of blessing and therefore are completely unsatiated in their hunger for mamon.

    I think if you are feeling blessed, you should sing it from the mountaintops, you should share it with the world. Don’t question it. Don’t explain it away. If you don’t feel blessed, that is when you need to do some soul work… because even if you feel financially blessed, I guarantee you still feel some hollowness that exposes your need for blessing in many other areas… and here’s the rub with blessing, you often have it, but don’t recognise it. Having your eyes opened to blessing is not a bad thing and speaking it out– even less.

    I wish that more Christians would see how richly blessed they are in so many things, not just financially. Hearing someone acknowledge how blessed they are is definitely not anywhere on my list of things Christians should stop saying… and I have a large list of things I’d like to hear Christians stop saying.

  185. Well said! I like this perspective a lot. “Blessed” is a word so many Christians around me use a lot. I don’t always love the context but I didn’t always know why. This is good.

  186. Reblogged this on Winning In Life and commented:
    Rethinking God’s Blessings!

  187. Eliseo

    If anybody would like to dig up about managing (stewardship) material and non material blessings, look at the Table of Contents of this book (you will find it very useful whether you think you have a lot or little):

    http://www.connectingwithjesus.org/media/CS.pdf

  188. Jackie

    So what you are saying is that we don’t pray for others anymore, that their situation might change, or that they may have enough, food, clothing etc. We cant even ask that their luck may change as that would be a blessing too.

  189. Excellent and thoughtful article. I, too, am grateful…very grateful.

  190. Andre C.

    Thanks for posting this.Solomon said it, life is chasing after the wind and feeding on it. Followers of Jesus are running after worthless things, accomplishing less for God and then thinking we’re blessed!

  191. Renee Taylor

    THANK YOU for writing succinctly on the subject – prosperity theology, and nuanced language. After a few paragraphs I was yelling in my head, “It’s ‘I’m grateful’!”. But you got there at the end, anyway. It’s like why my minister doesn’t like the New Thought bumper sticker, “Tolerance”, because, while it sounds good on the surface, it’s really saying, “Well, I’ll put up with you, even though you don’t measure up to X”. Peace, and thank you for sharing. – Renee Taylor, Marietta, Georgia

  192. When someone asks how work is going, you answer “work is going great” if it indeed is going great. That’s honest. Not sure why church people struggle with communicating in straightforward, non-loaded ways.

    • Glenn

      AH – But the author says “The simple truth is this: the world exists, and I get to live in it for a while. My place of birth, my opportunities, and my good fortune are not a result of God’s choosing. It’s dumb luck.”

      Now to this, I must reply: If God IS omnipotent and omniscient, then there IS NO SUCH THING AS “DUMB LUCK!” It’s either part of God’s plan or there IS no God. You CAN”T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.

      This is self evident, but the author (like all other Christians) opts to ignore it unless it is convenient for THEM to use in some half-baked manner (like counting their “blessings”).

      I’m also offended by the “counting of blessings,” but to say that evil, tragedies, and natural events are “God’s Will” is EQUALLY offensive to me. Christians are prompt to say that if a tornado wiped out a town it was “Gods Will.”

      Nope – it was random chance (or as the author of that article titled it “dumb luck.” If random chance OR luck (good or bad) exist, then either God doesn’t exist, or he’s unworthy of being worshiped.

      There IS NO OTHER LOGICAL OPTION.

      That said, it IS a free country. If you (or anyone else) want to have your very own illogical religious beliefs, you’re welcome to them – Just don’t try to kill me for my own good because it’s what you think your God wants!

      • gianna

        God does exist. He is indeed all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good.

        First, God’s omnipotence is not nonsense- He does not make a branch become soft as soon as someone decides to use it as a weapon- that would destroy free will. His power is to do all that is possible, no to do all absurdities, like taking away our free will after giving it to us. He is all-knowing, so He doesn’t change His mind about things like giving man free will. Since He has given us free will, He allows suffering. We live in a fallen, painful world, as a result of free will. However, in His goodness He has given meaning to suffering- He didn’t just watch us suffer as a result of our sin. He took on human nature and suffered with us- He didn’t wipe away our tears, but came and cried with us… Then He conquered sin and death and opened the gates of Heaven for us. Now, we can share in Christ’s suffering, take up the cross daily, and accept His invitation to follow Him and be with Him forever.

        God’s goodness is sometimes reduced to “kindness”. Would it be kind of a father to let his child eat junk food all the time, stay up all night, and do whatever he wanted? It might be expected of a kind old grandfather, but a truly loving father wants his child to be happy, even if it hurts in the short term. Sometimes, we think we want something, but God knows what we need most for our salvation, if we are to attain eternal happiness, and denies us that. Sometimes He speaks to us most in suffering, for in suffering we can see that we don’t actually have all we need, that there is more to life than the passing pleasures here- food, sex, money, honor… When everything is pleasant, it’s hard to remember that we’re made for more than this world, that our hope is not to become the happiest we can here, but to attain eternal happiness, better than anything we might imagine.

        I hope that helps! It’s a hard thing to think about for sure.

      • Mark

        Glenn, I too disagree with “dumb luck” being an acceptable answer. However, I am not making an argument for the existence of God. It seems to me that you disbelieve…and that is your right and privilege. You stated, “If God IS omnipotent and omniscient, then there IS NO SUCH THING AS “DUMB LUCK!” It’s either part of God’s plan or there IS no God. You CAN”T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.” I want to point out that your argument disregards man’s divine gift of agency, or the freedom to choose and be held accountable for our actions. Yes, as a Christian, I believe God is omniscient and omnipotent. I also believe he is worthy of worship. God value’s your ability to choose so much that He allows you to make choices without his intervention so that you can gain knowledge and experience. If God intervened in your choices, then what would be the point of our human existence?

        Best regards.

      • Glenn, you’re missing the point. This article is not about metaphysics. The gospel of prosperity that the author describes is harmful whether you think of God as a deity or not. Gratitude is a healthier response to good fortune than entitlement. His understanding of Jesus encourages him to view his possessions with accountability. I don’t understand why you’d have a problem with that.

    • Georgianna

      I can give you some insight as to why church people deliver their responses in those round about loaded ways. I try to be an honest, straightforward person. If someone asks me how I am, I used to be upfront and tell them whether it was fine or it was not so fine…It got to the point where I felt people beginning to feel sorry for me. I wish more people would be direct, but in our society, we have to “put a good face” on everything because who wants to be burdened with all the negative stuff in people’s minds and hearts…

    • Danaya

      Thank you for this. My husband and kids and I have spent 3 months, 3 different times in Guatemala, and continue to work with a small scholarship program there. I am now friends with many people who love God, are “blessed” by God, but live in incredible poverty. I still struggle with issues of faith and “blessing” because of the disparity between their lifestyle and mine. How can the same God be blessing us both? How can we both have “real” faith, when I hardly “need” God for anything in my day, and they “need” God to provide every little thing. Thank you for your thoughts. I appreciate them a lot.

    • I essentially agree with this article’s point, but I also think you can probably sometimes call material gifts blessings with integrity – you don’t need to edit that to “thankful” every time – I don’t think the Bible only describes material gifts as burdens or curses – the church is thankful for the offerings that allow them to support the church’s work, they are blessings. Blessings are often used in a broader sense than the Beatitudes in the Bible to include physical gifts, esp. in the OT – the Beautitudes aren’t a “definition” of blessing (excluding all other forms of blessings) but are a (powerful!) example of Jesus overturning traditional understanding of blessings to show how God’s heart is essentially aligned with the humble and suffering – no matter how it looks, they ARE blessed. I don’t think it means that we can never consider material property a blessing – but it does mean it should definitely be used with caution, when Jesus emphasizes the blessing of God being with the suffering. The fact that we primarily use the term to describe when things are going our way shows how self-absorbed and complacent in our wealth American Christianity tends to be.

  193. Lori

    Then how do you explain what happened to Job????????? Everyone has the right to feel blessed with whatever they have, whether it be spiritual or carnal, very much, or very little. God holds every life in the palm of his hand, and has all power over it, body and soul. He has power over everything, including the devil himself. So if he allows us to even have the next breath, it is his mercy and blessing.

    • Michael

      Lori,

      No, not blessing. Think of it as if you were programming a program in JAVA. There are certain words you cannot use in certain situations because they are reserved for a specific purpose and contain an individual meaning designed to do only one thing. The point the author is trying to make in this article is that we are told by Jesus in the bible who is blessed and who isn’t; in light of this, if you use the word blessed where it shouldn’t be used, you are basically contradicting the bible. If you still don’t believe what this author is saying, take your last sentence and juxtapose it with what the scripture says. Where is the verse claiming everyone who is alive is blessed? Though I do believe your heart is in the right place and your thoughts are certainly clear, make sure to use the correct terminology when speaking because one of the most sacred objects we have on earth, the Bible, is indeed told to us with such words; do not use them without care or you will desecrate the Word.

    • S.R.

      There are several different kinds of literature in the Bible, and you have to know what you are reading. This may sound flippant, and I don’t mean it to be, but the book of Job is a fairy tale. It tries to address the age old question of why bad things happen to good people.

      In the story, Job loses everything, including his family – all over a divine bet. When Job passes his test and remains faithful, he gets everything back, including a new family. Do you really believe that anyone’s children could be simply replaced by new children the way we would replace a flat tire with a new tire? Do you really think God thinks that we feel that way? I can’t speak for you, but the God I was raised to believe in is Love and knows us better than that.

      Incidentally, Job doesn’t give us a good answer to the question Job suffers with. He is just reminded that God is incomprehensible. God is so far above us that we cannot hope to see things the way He sees them or to think as He thinks. All we can do is trust Him, that there is a reason we suffer even if we never understand the why.

      The book of Job is useful in illustrating the point the author of the article is making though. Job’s friends believed in the gospel of prosperity. They believed that for Job to be suffering so much, he MUST HAVE done SOMETHING to deserve it. If he would only repent, God would have mercy on him.

      None of his friends helped him. None of them lifted a finger. They didn’t offer him a place to stay or a place to bathe. All they did was insist that he was a sinner and had to figure out what he did to anger God.

      That is the ugly side of the gospel of prosperity. If someone is not “blessed” with wealth, and instead are suffering in poverty, then it must be because God has condemned them. If God has condemned them to that state, then any charity shown to them would be a rebellion against God.

      Bad things happen to good people because if bad things only happened to bad people, there would be no empathy.

  194. The “dumb luck theology” completely ruined this article. That is as foreign to scripture as the prosperity gospel!

    • Val

      I have to agree that the “dumb luck” ruined it for me, too. The main idea is true, though. We are blessed regardless of our check book or our “stuff”. I’ll be watching what I say and how I phrase things, particularly with my children.

  195. Heidi

    Totally agree…I was following until that moment! I believe God’s purpose for my life began where I was born and continues with every opportunity that comes my way.

  196. Sue Smith

    I still like “blessed.”

  197. Ruth Booij

    I became curious and decided to look up what the Bible says about ‘being blessed’. Just the word ‘blessed’ alone (not including bless, or blessing etc) is mentioned 298 times – many times in relation to God blessing someone, nations, the earth, and God himself being blessed. It is often referred to in the context with increase of wealth, in context with a person, whole nations or leaders following God’s ways in obedience to Him.

    It is the very nature of God to bless. Right from the beginning – God created and then he blessed the earth, animals, mankind. New King James Version (NKJV)
    2 I will make you a great nation;
    I will bless you
    And make your name great;
    And you shall be a blessing.
    3 I will bless those who bless you,
    And I will curse him who curses you;
    And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Gen 12: 2-4 re Abram.
    So what has happened?
    In the very beginning Satan also came on the scene, jealous of God’s blessing on man that had been created, he went out of his way to tempt man to disobey God. He knew from his own bitter experience that disobedience brings you out of the covering of God’s blessing. Immediately man brought himself under curse rather than the blessing God had intended and which is a natural result of obeying God, and following his ways. Curses just as blessings have ripple effects and spread.
    In spite of the first sin, God continues to lavish blessings wherever man is receptive to it. We are blessed to be a blessing. Blessings, like all good things are not meant to be held selfishly, but passed on. To admit to being blessed is not a selfish thing, but a declaration of God’s goodness. However, blessing does not only show up in what we own, the state of health or other ‘good things’, but we are blessed even when going through difficult things, when we recognise what God is doing through those times to form us into the kind of person that can again be a blessing to others. The illustration of Lazarus and the rich man is poignant. Lazarus poverty on earth was only temporary, whereas the rich man’s fate was disastrous because of his selfishness.
    Let’s not just be blessed. Let’s be generous with that blessing and bless those who are in need. Generosity will multiply blessings on our lives, so that we can bless some more.
    He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor. Proverbs 22:9
    In fact blessing is such an integral part of God’s nature, that we should make it our mission to bless, bless, bless. That is what the world needs so that more poverty and misery, (not brought on by God, but the devil), can be alleviated through blessings flowing through those who can give. If you look at the thousands of charities throughout the world – that is exactly what is happening. Bring on God’s blessings – celebrate God’s goodness and share what we have with others.
    Don’t become an unwitting pawn to the devil whose whole mission is to destroy God’s intended blessing on all creation. Instead become an instrument of this blessing.

    • Leslie

      Thank you! That is exactly what the bible says. The devil wants to take away our blessings. God has already blessed us, many people aren’t experiencing the blessings of God because they believe the lies of the devil who is robbing them of victory. I think saying “I’m blessed” builds up our spirit when we speak what God’s word says. Scripture also says as a man thinks in his heart, so is he….so I’m saying “I’m blessed.”:)

    • Melanie

      I love your explanation…it was worth reading the article and comments just to see this responce. Thank you.
      Melanie

  198. Diane

    Fundamentally, I disagree with this opinion. It is my right to do so as all of what have materially is provided by what is God’s resources. HE OWNS IT ALL! His Word says every good and perfect gift comes from above (James 1:17). It is provision from God that enables us to have what we have. So, thank God for it! Yes, you are BLESSED and remain that way!

  199. Terri Fulton

    Job 42:12
    So the LORD “blessed” the second part of Job’s life more than the first.

  200. Julie

    Many people use the word ‘Blessed’ to replace the word ‘Lucky’. The word ‘lucky’ removes God from our prosperity and the goodness in our lives – as if it happened by chance. So the article seems to contradict what Christians believe – e.g. everything is not ‘dumb luck’ it is God ordained. I think the article is trying to be clever, and slightly judgemental of the words people use.

  201. Que diferente es ver como Dios tiene cuidado de Todos , PUESTO QUE NADIE NOS MERECMOS NADA …, pero el en su infinita misericordia nos proveé de lo que es necesario ,PARA CADA DÍA …, pero no nos conformamos…, o se conforman, según sea el caso, y se ha hecho muy popular la frase Dios me bendijo …, como si fueran un caso aislado sobre todo cuando obtienen las cosas …,hostigando a otros manipulándolos para que cooperen para sus caprichos …, Ya que muchas veces no son necesarias … y después van a dar testimonio de como viven por FE y son tan bendecidos ;;porque han involucrado a todos para costear sus lujos o cosas que de momento no pueden comprar ,ya sea por no trabajar o por no ganar lo suficiente para costearlo …, y aun así presumen Dios me bendijo y no me costo a mi…, me lo regalaron.” SERA ESTA LA BENDICIÓN QUE DIOS DA …”

  202. deb

    What is okay as a Christian about “disparaging’ your mother, or lying about your college days? Are we supposed to wink and smile at that, and then accept chastisement for feeling blessed for every good gift that God gives us? And saying so openly?
    I don’t get it.

  203. Roch Skelton

    “What if Your blessings come through raindrops, what if your healing comes through tears, what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near…” (Laura Story)
    As a recent widower, I have lived with this idea of BLESSINGS for more than two years, and I know I always will… Yes, my life is Blessed, and I hope YOU don’t get Blessed in the same way.

  204. Mel

    Dumb luck?? Now that’s dumb. Actually it is a lie.

  205. Dharma

    I’m reasonably sure–but not positive and open to correction–that the thesis here is absurd. It’s wrong to say you’re blessed with a meal because there’s a legitimate Christ-follower who does not have meal? You’re not blessed to have shelter because there is an evangelist out there without shelter? You’re not blessed to have a child because there are other Christ-followers that are barren? Maybe I’m misunderstanding you.

    Blessing does not imply merit. Some blessings follow certain wise behaviors, but no good act deserves reward. It’s grace. If when someone claims to be blessed, you are hearing others diminished, then I think you might be hearing it wrong.

  206. Amanda

    I agree with everything except for when you say that your place of birth and your opportunities are not chosen by God, and that they’re dumb luck. I absolutely believe that God chooses each soul that is born to each set of parents. But he’s not placing people into more “comfortable” situations out of favor. I think He’s choosing where to place us based on where our souls will have the maximum potential for growth. And because every soul is unique, each one needs different conditions for optimal growth. And so we can know that God has put us each in the best possible starting point to make it to heaven. From there we have to use our free will to strive toward sainthood and go to heaven with God’s mercy.

  207. Amanda

    I agree with previous posters that people who receive monetary windfalls are absolutely blessed, but we have to realize that people who have something terrible happen to them are also blessed. I know this from my own experience of both scenarios. The seemingly bad thing can be harder to recognize as a blessing, but hindsight often helps with that.

  208. Curtis

    I disagree with much of this. you assume that when I say what a blessing to close on this house, or what a blessing this new car is. I am thanking God for the cash to purchase it. not for many other reasons that it could be.

    Also, Money is a blessing, I am not saying that God only blesses us in money but that IS one way that he blesses us.

    This Paragraph
    First, when I say that my material fortune is the result of God’s blessing, it reduces The Almighty to some sort of sky-bound, wish-granting fairy who spends his days randomly bestowing cars and cash upon his followers. I can’t help but draw parallels to how I handed out M&M’s to my own kids when they followed my directions and chose to poop in the toilet rather than in their pants. Sure, God wants us to continually seek His will, and it’s for our own good. But positive reinforcement?

    is extra troubling. it makes me doubt your ability to see things open mindedly. How is material blessing reduce God to a sky-bound fairy? Are you limiting God to only blessing us with money?? sure, there are people out there who believe that God blesses them with money for being good. But where do you get the idea to generalize all the Christians in on this small sect?

    I am done writing because I don’t have time to comment on everything else.

    • dont let these negitive comments take your joy….. to be a christain is to be christ in man….. right people!!! these people who are calling themselves christains have forgotten that…. how hard is it to be kind…. and respect other peoples perceptions… thats why the world is so messed up….. to be affended by what someone says means you are not grounded in who you are…. hence all the war and bloodshed…… and all evil things people do to eachother…. just love….. simple…..

  209. Sarah

    “My place of birth, my opportunities, and my good fortune are not a result of God’s choosing. It’s dumb luck.” Yikes! How about this? “From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the EXACT PLACES WHERE THEY WOULD LIVE. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him, though He is not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:26-27

  210. David

    I have an issue with saying that the Bible does not say that God blesses materially. If you go back to the beginning, Genesis talks about Abraham and how God blessed him and his heirs. Abraham was the largest land owner of his time and had more livestock that we can imagine. This was material wealth back then. Look at his son, Issac was also blessed materially with an inheritance but also with additional accumulated wealth. Jacob went into the wilderness with nothing and was blessed by God and grew a fortune in land and livestock so much so that Laben kept tricking him into continuing to work for him because Laben knew God’s blessing was on him and it was causing Laben to grow wealthy as well. Look at Joseph, who was sold as a slave and left with nothing. He rose from a slave to a king because of God’s blessing. There were no poor kings. David was a lowly shepherd became king and had great wealth. God provides for us and blesses us materially so that we can be a greater blessing to others. We are too be good stweards of the money God entrusts to us.

  211. shelley merritt

    Every breath we take is a blessing. Every dollar we have is a blessing. Every difficulty can be a blessing when received with faith in our God. There is nothing wrong with feeling blessed when things go well. It is a blessing. It comes with a responsibility: “To whom much is given, much is required.”

    In Romans 15:27, Paul himself called money “material blessings”– “For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.”

    We are not born where we are or when we are by “dumb luck”– Paul states in Acts 17:28 that God made all people and ” determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.”

    Psalm 139 says that “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

    The Scriptures are clear that God is sovereign, and it boggles our mind to try and figure it out. But we have SOLID ground to disagree that the details of our lives are the result of “dumb luck”.

    I have to agree with Paul’s declaration in Romans 11:33-36 and bow in worship.

  212. Pingback: Have You Hijacked The Word “Blessed”? | Donald McAllister

  213. CC Dean

    Amen, amen, amen!! Those who say ‘they are loving with ALL their hearts & minds the Lord’ but yet in their true heart of hearts are daily seeking and affirming their actions and others who have a comfortable ‘standard of living’ the measure, are not seeking the HEART OF GOD! I’m not judging anyone. My heart desires comfort as well, but if all our lives are truly like a vapor, and we don’t have the same intense focus that Jesus has, then we are simply allowing ourselves for decades and decades to be deceived. We have our human life that’s like a vapor, then comes death, then comes judgement – that’s what Scripture says. In the end – which for thousands of people on this planet will be today or tomorrow – our choices will guide all into Heaven or Hell, with or without Jesus. No one will have the option to choose staying on earth and keep living their human lives. Let’s be broken before the Lord and allow Him to instill in us His dreams so we will know and experience a depth of who Jesus is and what He’s done for us!!!!!! It also means others will choose to give their hearts to Jesus and that means forever in a paradise of no sin, no fear, no shame, complete peace and experiencing life with this miracle maker named Jesus!!!

  214. Syp

    My biggest question for you, Scott, is do you believe that God is sovereign? From reading your article, I get the distinct impression that you do not, and that is incredibly troubling and undermines the message you are going for here. Do you worship a God who does not or cannot control all events? Do you worship a God who is subject to “blind luck”? Do you worship a God who is powerful, just not all-powerful?

    If so, you are not worshiping the God of the Bible, and that saddens me. As others have pointed out, God is incredibly open in giving his people blessings in the Bible in many forms, but these blessings are his gift to give. He does not have to give them to everyone. It’s the parable of the talents — where the three servants are given different amounts of money to manage. All are trusted but in different ways. They have no right to complain that one got more than the other, for all is a gift.

    But what God does desire is for us to praise him for his blessings and to testify as to his goodness, graciousness, and generosity. To attribute the good in our lives to God is to give him the glory, not ourselves and not to luck. To say otherwise is to take his gifts and pretend as if he did not give them in the first place.

  215. Tiffany Speas

    I like this article. I see exactly what you’re getting at. Thanks for the perspective!

  216. deb

    Is anyone bothered by the fact that he jokes about disparaging his mother and lying about college escapades? Is this just a joke that I’m supposed to wink and laugh at, a little light-hearted humor prior to the seriousness of the subject? I don’t get it – can anyone enlighten me?

    • yes… your taking life to seriously…. this man is searching for the truth… and doin amazeing good deeds along the way….. see his heart and you will be able to open yours….

      • Deb

        So my heart isn’t “open” because I am offended by his remark about disparaging mothers? What if he is disparaging homosexuals, or fat people? Is that okay? I don’t think searching for the truth gives one the right to make fun of anyone else. Doesn’t God command us to honor our parents?

  217. Daniel

    Everything I have is because God has allowed me to have it. The breath I just breathed is because He has allowed me to live a few more seconds. The hope I have in Jesus Christ is because he allowed me to have it, therefore, I feel that I am in a constant state of “Blessedness.” That being said, I very rarely communicate that except in my conversations with the Father. #blessed isn’t really part of my vocabulary despite my knowledge of how greatly I’ve been blessed.

  218. Patti Brooks

    First of all, there is no such thing as luck. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone could think that somebody feeling blessed is wrong. James 1:20 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness,neither shadow of turning. Telling people that you feel blessed by God lets them know that you love God and appreciate what He has done for you. Giving thanks to God for the blessings He has given us does not mean that we are not thinking of and praying for people in worse situations. Ephesians 5:20-Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ… God sees everything we do and He wants to us to appreciate what He does for us.To think what we get is a result of luck diminishes God and is somewhat arrogant. I have said all these things in Christian love.

    • all you say you are critacizeing this gye and then to say your saying it out of christain love! your judgement is why im not a christain…. this man is is full of love and seeking the truth…. jusus was not spoke of in the bible from 12 years old to 32… 32!!! what do you think he ws doin all that time?!? soal searching…..

  219. Very disappointed with disparaging your mothers and the whole dumb luck theory. Neither are biblically accurate. I kept reading because a friend recommended this, but I take issue with much of what was said.

  220. that is one of the most humble and respectful manners of specking of gods true voice… i am not a christain but i do belive in jesus teachings…. he was a free spirt… intouch with the devine because worldy possitions did not plague his connection…. your words made me smile… hearing a christain be honest and real….. helps give me faith…. thankyou for shareing…. what we do dose make a difference….

  221. T. Speas

    For a Christian article, there are some pretty judgmental and rude comments on here. I’m disappointed, but unfortunately, not surprised.

  222. I’m agreed until you got to “dumb luck”. “not God’s choosing”?! You everything right except that. Good is all knowing, all powerful, and ever present. He knew each of us before the earth was formed, that logically includes our place of birth and opportunities. N o, God is not a cosmic genie or behavioral psychologist , and material comforts not equal blessings but our circumstances are not arbitrary either. God is a God of purpose.He knows the plans he has for us. May God bless you, brother.

  223. Amrit Koirala

    I must say that it’s beautifully written. Yes those who lis. ve with less are not unblessed. Today Christians are looking for the church who tells only good thing. Preaching on cross and forgiveness of sin is rare. But One thing I couldn’t agree here is about LUCK. Nothing is LUCK derived in a believers life. but overall writing is really good. I wrote it not to accuse but to edify. We followers of Jesus are part of same family. No matter where we hail from.

  224. Jeff Kasten

    I too don’t agree with the dumb luck statement, but in the end… “My blessing is this.  I know a God who gives hope to the hopeless.  I know a God who loves the unlovable.  I know a God who comforts the sorrowful.  And I know a God who has planted this same power within me.  Within all of us.

    And for this blessing, may our response always be,

    “Use me.””

  225. Iskra Zamora

    Um, interesting reflection in C-21. If I live now it’s because of Jesus. We as Christians don’t’ deserve anything but for grace we receive eternal life since now(is not material, but spiritual and eternal values) I believe Jesus is calling to a new generation to revolutionary our world. So don’t destroy what he builds and don’t kill what he lifts.

  226. shelley merritt

    Let me add that I appreciate your heart, brother! 🙂 I had another thought…according to your post script, you now say, “I’m grateful”. That still strikes me a bit strange to be “grateful” but not feel like you can call what you are grateful for a gift or a blessing from God.

    Thanks for making us think! Blessings to you and your family!

  227. Lee

    It’s not luck but hard work (for thy self). Other than that, I agree with you.

  228. I have been a Christian for years, and yes I feel blessed, in my past job as a nurse, with my house my money and my vehicle….but my greatest blessing is to see the joy and the comfort and the love from those who have shared in all the above blessings of mine. God gives us all we have through our abilities. It’s up to us to use them in blessing others.
    Matt 25:14-30 talked about the Talents. Don’t count your blessings as a cursed or not, but count it as a blessing to use in God’s Kingdom.

  229. yall are so mean!!!! im glad im not a christain!!!!

  230. Robin

    Well said. But once you understand your true blessing you are free to say you feel blessed every day. Or, use happy instead of blessed. And may you continue to find blessings and happiness all around you.

  231. jessblake2

    The revision you made taking “dumb luck” out and adding what you did made this “share-able” for me. The dumb luck comment hit me hard and I just couldn’t get passed it. But then I saw you revised it and then your article really hit home. I’ve never even thought of being “blessed” in this way. Awesome article!

  232. candy

    Actually when i refer to myself as being blessed, i don’t mean i am blessed because of any earthly thing. I am blessed because God has given me mercy and forgiveness when i didn’t deserve it, which is daily because i sin daily. I am not blessed because i have a good job. I felt equally blessed when i was unemployed and didn’t know where the next meal for my children would come from. I am blessed because I’m, at least for the time being, able to spread the Word of God to people who might not otherwise hear it. I am blessed because i can read His Word everyday and receive my spiritual daily bread…and if tomorrow i was persecuted for loving Jesus, i would be blessed beyond measure. I understand that people, including myself, have been at fault for carelessly throwing that word around as if it means nothing, but i learned a long time ago to stop counting my earthly goods as blessings and to start counting my spiritual blessings. The fact that God loves me and has mercy on me, a lowly unworthy sinner, is the biggest blessing i have to date. There will be more one day but i think the issue really, is that we’ve become obsessed with the world and worldly possessions and have forgotten that every single worldly possession we have will pass away and the only thing left that will matter is our spiritual blessings, the main One being the Love and Compassion of our Savior, Jesus Christ. If money and posessions were important Jesus wouldn’t have asked His deciples to leave it all to follow Him. He said don’t worry about what you’re going to eat or wear because He will take care of us. Faith is what it takes, not money or things. Faith.

  233. Joyful_2010

    Wow! You could put Joel Osteen right out of business with this kind of cah-razy talk. But seriously, thanks for challenging us think differently about being blessed vs. being grateful.
    Can I just say that there’s that pesky commandment of honoring our parents… Might want to re-think the casual disparaging of mothers. 😉

  234. For all the distraction with the term ‘dumb luck,’ I didn’t read one comment that embraced the reality of the Sermon on the Mount which gives no indication that monetary wealth is a blessing. It’s funny how we claim the God of the biblical text and then often ignore the biblical text when it doesn’t fit our position in life.

  235. Jon-Micah Clanton

    Very interested in your thoughts!

  236. Bill McEntire

    I’m very undeserving of life at all . Through Jesus Christ I have hope . Maybe we should all spend more time and energy trying to help our fellow man / woman , instead of laying up treasures and riches that we can’t take with us when we die .

  237. jennifer0j.

    Reblogged this on Set Free.

  238. Personally I still don’t see anything wrong with calling myself “blessed” because of my personal possessions. Technically, we all deserve death because of our sin. So anything good above death is a result of us being “blessed” by God. So even the person just barely surviving is blessed – blessed with life.

    No, our monetary wealth may not because God is directly intervening and making sure we have money, but the fact is everything that happens is because God allowed it to happen, so I thank God when he “blesses” me with material possessions, since he allowed that to happen as well.

    • Right, that’s what I was saying as well…I think the author’s basic point is sound, though, because in our culture we usually thank God for “blessing” us when things are going our way. I don’t think we necessarily need to replace “blessed” with “thankful” as the author said, because it’s the same idea, it’s just a matter of perspective – American Christians tend to go on and on about how blessed we are as a nation – when the author is very right to point out that Jesus completely turns that upside down by insisting that the heart of God and his blessings are especially with the suffering.

  239. Great post, you’ve nicely pinned down the thoughts and feelings I have been having on this same topic.

  240. riley

    I’m actually baffled that people who don’t believe in god come to this blog specifically just to talk about how much they don’t believe in god. somebody shared this on facebook and I thought it was a nice read, even if I’m not christian and don’t actively believe in a god in the same way that some people might. I’m not gonna bore you with my beliefs, but since I have no real way of proving whether there is or isn’t A God, I’m not bothered by people placing their faith in one if it helps them with their lives. for all I know God does exist & I would never fault people for believing in him. I just don’t understand the point of coming here just to flaunt your own dissenting beliefs all over the place without adding to the actual conversation. these people do not care.

    I’m also a little bothered by people trying to defend their material “blessings”, because I thought the whole point of this article was to encourage us to move beyond that. it’s important to realize what opportunities you have and how other people don’t and to stop assuming you just have them because god decided to make it so. it’s important, I think, to stop trying to defend your comfort and analyze where it came from in the first place. sometimes, in order to have what you do, other people have to go without. and whether or not you believe it’s your duty to help those less fortunate as a christian or promote some sense of equality as a secular humanist or what the heck ever, it never helps to turn a blind eye to where your “blessings” came from. take responsibility and realize that if you have while others do not, there’s a reason for it. and do something about it.

    • Glenn

      Well, Riley, who are YOU to decide that I “don’t care” because I find the original post contradictory and illogical? At least I gave my reasons for disagreeing with that original post – so which of us “isn’t adding to the actual conversation?

    • James

      Riley, I think in your heart you do believe and suggest you read the book of John. I am new Christian and by far a work in progress. In the book of John, you will see what Jesus did for you, and how much he love you.

    • Wendy

      Blessed are those who poop for M&M’s ! 🙂

    • Riley…this is very thoughtful. I almost never scroll down anywhere near the comments on ANY article, because I have been repeatedly disappointed by the immaturity and ignorance that show up in this area. But I was intrigued by your first sentence, and kept reading. I am VERY sorry for the other responses this comment has gotten (ALL of them). I am a Christian (a youth pastor in fact), and yet I have SO much respect for you right now, I’d like to jump through the internet and shake your hand. I promise you, there IS a God…but He’s not nearly as judgmental of those who don’t know Him as some of us have made Him out to be. And one of His highest values is WISDOM. If this post is any indication, wisdom is something you have already have somewhat of a handle on. Thanks for sharing.

      • Bateman

        Todd, I’m not a Christian, and very much like Riley, am a person that thinks perhaps there is a god and perhaps there’s not. Reading what you just wrote makes me very much hope that if there is one, that you are a perfect example of what he wanted us to be like. 🙂

    • ainemistig

      I thought your thoughts were very respectful. Thank you for that, and I know you’ll appreciate the sentiment behind this, whether you believe in Him or not: God bless you.

    • seeker4truth

      Riley I can only speak for myself but I believe I am not the only Christian who calls blessing something totally different from how most are taking this. I do not relate my blessings to material things at all. I feel blessed to have opportunities to come alongside of others who are hurting, feel lost or in pain and bless them in what ever way I can. God is so wonderful He blesses others through us, if we allow Him to use us, and in the process we are blessed too! It is that simple to me.

  241. Jeff

    Very good, very true!

  242. Still trying to understand this.

  243. Yes, we should be giving to others. We should share from our material stash, but articles like this attempt to put a glaring emphasis on “good Christian behavior” and I wonder if it doesn’t give the wrong idea to non-believers. Futhermore, there is more than one way to use the term “blessed” Biblically. As much as I love my family, salvation is my greatest blessing. I have thought about it, but this article does not compel me to stop saying blessed.

    • Caryn

      I don’t believe the point of the article is to encourage you to stop saying the word “blessed”. I believe the point is to encourage us all to thoughtfully consider HOW we use the word and not be so eager to attach it to monetary or material gains.

      • Glenna

        I agree, Caryn. I had no trouble getting the point of the article. I’m guilty of overusing the word “blessed”. I’ve even felt guilty using it when the look in the other person’s eyes makes me feel like I’m bragging over my blessings. This hits home enough so that I’ll think long and hard before I use the word so casually.

      • Em

        Caryn, you are right on.

      • But that’s just it. Is it my own hard work that brings my material gain? Should not I, a Christian, give all credit for personal creativity, discipline, physical wellness to work hard, etc to God? It is he who gives me everything I have. The author doesn’t say “I’m thankful TO GOD” because, I suppose, that implies that God gave them something (a blessing) that possibly the person they are speaking with does not have and maybe even wants. By the same way of thinking, I suppose talking about how God has been gracious to me (in salvation) can be taken as offensive.

        If someone tells me that God has blessed them, and it becomes obvious their blessing is beyond what I have been blessed, it’s MY sin that I am offended, jealous or envious, not the person who is sharing honestly. Just my opinion.

  244. Thank you for this. I have fairly recently discovered that without knowing it, I was in a ‘Mixed Orientation Marriage’: I’m straight, and my wife ‘came out’ to herself and to me as a lesbian after 33 years of marriage. Quite a shock, especially for someone who thought that they’d gone into a Christian marriage on the basis of God’s leading and His will, and not just my wants. So I resonate with this blog: we were not promised anywhere easy lives.
    In conversation with a church minister friend yesterday, he repeated that I might one day look at this as a blessing. That at least if God is truth, we are both now living with a little more truth, even if it’s deeply painful. And he gave me a lovely quote by Irenaeus of Lyons, an early bishop and saint: ‘The glory of God is the human person fully alive.’ When life is too easy and tranquil, we’re often NOT fully alive…

    • Vicki & Jon

      Your comment is disrespectful and crude. You do not know what is going on in the lives of these two people and are no one to judge. I will be praying for you brassyhub and your wife. Although I don’t like homosexuality and I believe God does not either, God teaches us to love EVERYONE, whether we agree with them or not. You are doing the right thing by forgiving, praying, and yes, even loving your wife. (((hUGS)))

      • Adam Burkhardt

        Vicki, your statement ” Although I don’t like homosexuality and I believe God does not either” perplexes me. God and biology created individuals who are homosexual. They did not choose the way they were born and they seek Gods love too. I don’t know your background, but for me, the blessing I feel inside in part comes from the wonderful people i have in my life…many of whom are homosexual! We are all God’s children. If all of these homosexual individuals had to hide their true self just to please others disapproval, I believe we would be at a tremendous loss of our true potentials!

      • Mary Gillespie

        Wow Vicki & Jon, your comment is the one that is disrespectful and crude and incredibly judgemental. Some reading comprehension and a little less sanctimony would go a long way for you.

      • S Flanagan

        Good morning! This is totally off subject, but I read your posts and what you shared about your dear friend who has breast cancer and has been given 1-3 months to live. Does she know about Phoenix Tears? There are also other alternative approaches that may help. This and other similar treatments like it (other than chemo and radiation) has helped many people who had cancer, and it may help her. I will also be praying for her!

      • seeker4truth

        Adam I am perplexed by your comment. God didn’t create us as homosexuals any more than he made us adulterers, alcoholics, drug addicts, etc. Humans will always struggle with sin. We all go against God’s will for us and his creation because of our fleshly desires. This is the crux of our relationship with Jesus, who came to set the “captives” free from whatever bondage our particular sin is holding us captive to. We each can overcome our sin nature with His help, it is His promise.
        We are all God’s creation but we are not all God’s children. If we have not chosen to accept Him into our life we are spiritually dead and do not know His truth or can understand His word. Just as Jesus did we are called to love the sinner but not the sin.

      • Vicki & Jon

        Adam and Brassyhub–I apologise that it appears I was saying Brassyhub was being disrespectful and crude. My comment was in response to a different comment made on Brassyhub’s comment, that apparently the blog host decided was also disrespectful and removed their comment. I was trying to be supportive to Brassyhub–the other poster had said it was Brassyhub’s fault that his wife ‘became homosexual’.because he did not satisfy her sexually. It was that other poster that I was saying was disrespectful and crude in his response to Brassyhub. As I said in my previous comment, everyone is not in agreement about homosexuality and that is why I said that I (not everyone else) believe that to be true. I also have family members who are/were–one of them no longer considers herself to be homosexual and has expressed to me her appreciation that I told her, that even though I did not agree with her choice, I knew God still loved her and so did I…
        Again, sorry for the confusion and thank to the blog host for removing the disrespectful comment.
        Vicki

      • Vicki & Jon

        Mary Gillespie–please see my response–my comment was made towards another comment that has been apparently removed–no disrespect meant towards Brassyhub (in fact I give him my prayerful support.

  245. dmdezigns

    Good food for thought. Now can you tackle this common statement that I hear every time something bad happens in my life. “It’s God’s will.”. Apparently it’s God’s will for people to me murdered, for children to be abused, for people to die way before a normal life span, for me to be infertile. I think it’s a misunderstanding of he can work all things together for good for them that love the lord. Not every thing is his will. Not when I’m rude to someone, or when I judge them.

    • Liz

      I agree. That really bothers me to. When people sin, they are missing the mark. It is by definition, not God’s will. So when we sin or someone else sins and it affects us, it is not what God wanted. There are also a lot of things that happen to us because we live in a fallen world, not because God designed it that way. There are some things that God does cause, developmental suffering, such as working in a less than ideal situation or not finding Mr. Right right away. He wants to teach us lessons and see how we handle life when we don’t get what we want right away. God never causes calamities in our lives though, and he never makes us sick. Healing, freedom, joy, wholeness, and safety are always God’s will. Sometimes those things don’t happen, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t believe hard enough. It means we live in a fallen world with a real devil and real people who also have free choice.
      I am very sorry that you are infertile. That was not in the plan of God. God really can heal you. If that doesn’t happen, it doesn’t mean God doesn’t love you or you did something wrong, it means the devil is a punk, he steals. The right to affect you in that way is not his but he steals anyway.
      I know this verse is misused a lot but let me try to use it the right way, “God works everything out for the good of him who love him, who are called according to his purpose.” God did not cause murders, abuse, sickness, and infertility. But whenever you go through hardship, whatever is in you will be squeezed out, things that you didn’t even know where there come to the surface and you have a chance to respond. For me, often it is anxiety, worry, or a mistrust in God that pops up. I can run to him and he can bring me from that place to a better one. That is one way that God works everything for good. Another way is after you have walked through your hardship to the other side, you now know how to help others walk through the same situation. For some situations, like abuse, you can become a voice to help stop and prevent abuse by getting involved in organizations that work with this. It gives you a passion for it. Now, I am not saying that you had to go through your hardship in order for you to help others with a problem, and God never desired for you to have to suffer, but if you do, God will not let that situation be of no value, he will find a way to use that hardship for good.

      • Jim

        I may be off base here, and I certainly don’t want to offend anyone, but could it be that infertility is maybe Gods will? that the person was placed in a position to adopt so a child could be raised in a loving caring home? Maybe the her other attributes are what a child craves and his waiting for her to bless them with her gifts. God never closes a door without opening another, its just we don’t always see the other door. God also created us with free will, as he wanted us to seek him, not be forced to worship him, that is why there is evil in the world

      • Vicki & Jon

        Excellent comment Liz. I was going to say something similar. Twenty years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and i just posted my testimony on a friends blog, as a guest. I am currently working on a more detailed version that I hope to have published (maybe only self-published) to coincide with my 20 year anniversary the end of this year. While doing so, I have been thinking about a dear friend who has been fighting breast cancer for a couple years and was recently told by her doctors, that there is nothing more they can do for her and she has only 1-3 months to live, and thought, “what do I say to her and her family?” There is no way that I would ever say, “she didn’t pray enough or was not holy enough”. This woman is the wife of a retired minister, who has been an inspiration to me of what a Christian woman should be like. She has been praying and trusting God for healing for a long time and she continues to trust that God will provide for her and her family.and continues to shine for her beloved Lord. I think one thing we have to remember, is that that complete healing just may come when she (or we) get to Heaven. God has used her situation to minister to many people of how a person can go THROUGH difficult times with trust in God that all things will go according to His plan. And yes, I would love to pray this wonderful woman of God will live many more years to share His love, but I also believe God has a plan to use her story to ‘bless’ others along the way.

      • Martha Hughes

        Liz, I believe u are right on. Enjoyed your thoughts immensity.

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  247. Don

    Sorry, have to disagree. Romans 12 speaks of various gifts given to believers. One of those gifts (12:8) is the ability (wherewithal) to give to the needs if others. II corinthians 9 also speaks of monetary blessings given to those who give cheerfully and liberally. The distinction between this theology and the prosperity gospel is that these blessings are given to some (not all) for a purpose.

  248. markwise07

    Given this post, how would you explain Job 42:12 Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. 13He also had seven sons and three daughters.

    If a person is not to say they are “blessed” because so many other people in the world live on less than $10 a day, then following that logic why should we say “we are blessed with knowing God” when so many people in the world don’t know God? I’m only suggesting better logic.

    I don’t desire to be discouraging or negative. It just seems we get into telling people what to say and not to say (i.e. Christians should stop saying ____). Is that living by the Spirit or living by the law? Is it politically / religiously correct (PC / RC) speech? Prior to PC / RC speech we had freedom of speech. And we were expected to use it responsibly. Since people don’t use speech responsibly, we get PC / RC speech.

    Just use speech responsibly – realizing words edify, encourage, lift up, tear down, destroy and/or abuse. Some comments made on this post are clearly abusively and is evidence of how people take free speech for granted and abuse their liberties. Watch those people. They are like a child playing with matches around gas. They don’t realize morality and religion are a check to their freedoms and that liberty and freedom costs much.

    • Elisha Bomberger

      I agree with Markwise. The Bible is also clear that if the Israelites followed certain guidelines, they would be blessed over the rest of the world. Does this make me a ‘health and wealth’ person? Not completely. I do agree the word is overused, but I do think God blesses us- some of us even lavishly. And can He not bless someone maybe with a new car despite “millions of Christians” getting by with just 10 dollars (that actually might be several million of that country’s currency so lets compare apples to apples here) a day? God blesses each of us in different ways. And perhaps He blesses us to in turn BE a blessing to others?

  249. Liz

    I agree that we toss the words, I am blessed, around. And more often than not, we are talking about finances. I agree with you that we are blessed in many other ways. However, I think we have a different definition of blessed. A blessing is like a kiss from heaven, because God loves us, he gives us good things. Salvation is a blessing, joy is a blessing, healing in my body is a blessing, the presence of God is a blessing, and finances are a blessing. If it is good and it comes from God, it is a blessing. But the truth is, we are blessed to be a blessing. We are blessed with grace and God wants us to share this grace with others. We are blessed with joy and we are to show others how to have joy too. We are blessed monetarily and we are to use that blessing to bless others too. I read somewhere once that God will provide what we need for the mission he has placed on our lives. What if God has given you an idea of how to make a lot of money in your business, so that you could financially support the works of the kingdom. The world doesn’t have a money problem, it has a money distribution problem. God doesn’t just want all of his followers to be pastors and missionaries, he wants people in the business realm, people in the entertainment realm, people in education, people in the political realm, and people in the media.
    I agree we should not toss words around and limit the blessings of God to our bank account. We should also not feel like God has not blessed us if we are struggling financially. But I don’t think the answer is to completely eliminate the link between blessings and finances.

  250. Ed

    I guess perception and audience are really what matter in this debate. What does blessed really mean, I think it changes depending on who you speak with. For myself, someone who tries to remember that everything I have, possessions, talent, family, job, friends and even struggles come from the Lord above, blessed means many things. Most of all it means that I am under God’s care, for which I am truly gratefully. So no matter what state I find myself, it will not change the fact that I am blessed meaning still under the Lord’s care.

  251. Holly Garrison

    Amen! I’m grateful! Much better than is saying we are blessed! I agree that our semantics have been all wrong! Starting a new gratitude journal today! I also don’t like the “I’m blessed” because it gives younger generations a feeling if entitlement. I am sure you worked hard at some point to get where you are. Either through your eduction or just the fact that public speaking isn’t easy. Don’t down play your own gifts! Yes giving glory to God is appropriate but humblely using your gifts to benefit others is the way! It is hard to inspire others! Thanks!

  252. Pingback: links: this went thru my mind | preachersmith

  253. In the same spirit, let’s abandon the hateful phrase, “There but for the grace of God go I!” Talking about a capricious God!

  254. Prosperity theology has become an exciting thing for both congregations to listen to and for preachers to preach. The fallacy. The word prosperity is skewed. Perhaps, a suggested word for much of this article is the use of “discernment”.

  255. Danny

    Saying I am blessed by God is a way of honoring Him. The article makes much to do about nothing. Every advantage and disadvantage is a blessing because Romans 8:28 tells us that God works everything together for our good who love Him and are called according to His purpose. You are blessed going in and coming out because of His Grace and Goodness.

    I am blessed. I can’t stop saying it. Even when things go wrong, I am blessed.

  256. Vicki & Jon

    Good introspect. You gave us words to contemplate and consider if we are doing our best for God. We can get picky about what word or words to use, but the main thing we need to remember (as you pointed out) is that we need to acknowledge that God expects us to make an effort and not expect handouts, but He does enjoy ‘blessing’ us sometimes too. And we need to always be thankful for everything we have, both earned and gifted, givin God all the glory. Plus, we are not the judge of others worthiness and should never tell another person that they are not as holy, worthy or ‘prayed enough’ to receive that healing, or blessing. We need only to trust God and encourage others.

  257. mark

    I think this is a great article and accurate point. having been in third world countries where the believers are just as strong in their faith as i’am,but live in a grass hut or plywood Shack or own one pair of shoes,is not because of their lack of faith… they live in a third world country… the Bible does not day that if you follow Jesus you will be rich in material possessions(and if that is why you follow him you have missed the story)..I reposted this story… Thanks.

  258. Jon

    The prosperity gospel is a false gospel, if it’s a gospel at all, and perhaps the word “blessed” is overused sometimes, but that depends on the heart of the speaker. You’ve not considered all the reasons why someone might say “I’m blessed,” and in fairness, I wouldn’t expect you to in such a short post. But there are good reasons why “blessed” is the right description for believers, so I think that the suggestion that we should stop saying it is misguided. I appreciate your provoking us to think carefully about our words, though.

  259. Annie

    Very good article! I, too, have been struggling with all the “blessing” we have and how little others have. Our approach is to live a “fasted lifestyle” and use the overage for missions and the poor. But I still couldn’t figure out how to describe feeling “blessed” – and from now on . . . I’m GRATEFUL! Thank you for a great article!.

  260. The Beatitudes are a beautiful reminder of what is important in this life. Thanks for posting them.

  261. Linda

    Normally when I see these posts on Facebook I ignore them. I don’t want to take the time to read them. But today I was drawn to this for some reason and I wa convicted by it. Thank you for allowing God to speak through you concerning this. We “do” use the word “blessed” like it was candy given to us. Thank you reminding us what the word of God says.

  262. R Fitz

    First time I have encountered your writing but this is a topic I have been considering for a while now. Even in the less material realm, if I tell people we are so blessed to have a healthy family, what does that say about people whose child is seriously ill? Are they less blessed than I am? Or someone whose house burns down or whose plant shuts down and leaves them without a job? Are they LESS blessed than the rest of us? Very very good points you make – thank you for bringing some clarity to what being blessed really means.

  263. Trip

    I think I understand some of the sentiment you’re trying to express here, and anything written in opposition to the prosperity gospel is welcome, but a lot of what you’re saying is just plain wrong. For instance, “When I say that my material fortune is the result of God’s blessing, it reduces the Almighty to some sort of sky-bound, wish-granting fairy who spends his days randomly bestowing cars and cash upon his followers.” The consistent message of the Bible is that material wealth and affluence is ABSOLUTELY a result of God’s blessing. If I reduce God to only a material giver or primarily a physical provider, then indeed I sell him short and lose sight of the Giver while idolizing the gifts, as C.S. Lewis and others have put it. But a more subtle and perhaps more dangerous condition is to fail to attribute ALL blessing including material providence to God. In so doing, we turn God into a being that deals largely in the spiritual realm with little concern for the material. One of the things that distinguishes Christianity from other religions is that it is concerned with the spiritual AND the material. The soul AND the body matter to God; there will be a new heaven AND a new earth.

    It is very important to acknowledge that the eternal fate and daily holiness of our souls are of primary important to Jesus and are the main focuses of his gospel message, but we are also called to thank God for the material possessions he’s given and steward the wealth he blesses us with for his honor and others’ good. To separate the Beatitudes from the rest of the Bible’s teachings on “blessedness” and wealth is itself reductionist and creates blind spots in the things we praise him for. Let’s be thankful that our names are written in heaven AND for our next paycheck, no matter how big it is.

    • Trip…I don’t think the author is discounting that all things come from God, even his paycheck. I think he is trying to remind us that we should be careful not to assume poor folks aren’t blessed and set apart the “HAVES” as the ONLY blessed of God.

  264. I would submit that one of the greatest blessings in my life has been the experience of intense grief over the loss of several young children. My children who never spoke changed their mother and made her a more tender and compassionate person, one who more fully understands the Holy Spirit, one who is better groomed for “being Jesus” to others, especially those who are grieving. EVERY day EVERY person is carrying around some type of grief, big or small, for EVERY day involves change…situational, emotional, etc….and every change forces us to grieve the loss of what we have previously known. What will never change for those of us who believe in God and have accepted by faith His words of truth is this— there will always be BLESSEDNESS! Whatever we are going through at the moment is either healing from the last storm or preparation for another, either short-term or long-term. I think this song says it best, even if it IS a hard pill to swallow: “What if your blessings come through rain drops, what if your healing comes through tears, what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re there….what if trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the darkest night…are your mercies (blessings) in disguise.”

  265. One more thing — In all things give thanks, including bless NASCAR, boogity, boogity, boogity, amen.

    Interesting post and discussion.

  266. One more thing — In all things give thanks, including bless NASCAR, boogity, boogity, boogity, amen.

    This link should go right to the song….

  267. S

    My strong suspicion is that most people don’t think this far into the meaning of the word “blessed,” which I suppose is part of the point. The word “blessed” has come into vogue lately because many Christians shy away from using the word “lucky” as that (on the face of it) denies God’s hand in things. What appears to have happened is that the former has become little more than a synonym for the latter, which is also unfortunate.

  268. ahh my friend, you are a humble man, even if folks disagree! keep up the spirit!

  269. Lois Fredrick

    I like that quote that “The glory of God is to be fully human.” not a direct quote but to be fully human, filled up in the spirit is true! Cuz of Christ, Love Lois Fredrick

  270. It occurs to me that micromanaging which words we as Christians use to try and share our faith and lift up our Lord takes away from the bigger picture. We made the difficult decision to leave a church, in part, because they were constantly on us about language usage, raising our kids, giving, schooling, clothes we wore, etc. etc.. in other words they were trying to control us and how we express/live our faith so that we would fall in line with how they believed we should be living as outlined in the unseen rules of “Church X” as I will call it. Wouldn’t our time be spent more wisely by being workers and doers of our faith instead of trying to make all of our utterings fall within certain guidelines? We are sinners, our words will NEVER be perfect, NEVER be enough. This type of thing is part of what gives Christians a bad name. I have a hard time imagining that our Lord is taking notes on how I use the word ‘blessed’. This is an interesting discussion, though, and this type of thing is what keeps us thinking and learning about our faith and how we should always strive to be more Christ-like.

  271. Reblogged this on FBCpaloalto and commented:
    An interesting post on language, affluence, and “blessing.”

  272. At 400+ comments, I’m sure someone has dumped Luke’s beatitudes into the mix. Just offering this up:

    Then he looked up at his disciples and said:
    ‘Blessed are you who are poor,
    for yours is the kingdom of God.
    ‘Blessed are you who are hungry now,
    for you will be filled.
    ‘Blessed are you who weep now,
    for you will laugh.

    ‘Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice on that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.
    ‘But woe to you who are rich,
    for you have received your consolation.
    ‘Woe to you who are full now,
    for you will be hungry.
    ‘Woe to you who are laughing now,
    for you will mourn and weep.

    ‘Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.

  273. Marcia Carr

    Funny, when I use the world “blessed” I have never thought about it in a material sense. I have thought about it as a Father loving a child and telling them how much He loves them, standing over them, hand on head, praying over them. I have thought about it as “her children arise and call her blessed”( Proverbs 32:28). When I use it with people, I do it to let them know that I am a believer (who else would say such an arcane thing?), and that I have experienced something that only God can give, His true and wonderful love and forgiveness. This is the problem with words. They have so many meanings, nuances, and they change with time. It isn’t the word’s fault! I used to tell my daughter when she was little, that words aren’t inherently wrong, swearing is different from culture to culture. People decide if a word will be a curse or a blessing. So, if my “good word” is causing offense, then “it is better not to eat meat…or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.”(Romans 15:21) I guess there is a reason I have always loved the saying from St Francis of Assisi “Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words.” Perhaps a little less “blessing” and a little more “doing” is what God really wants us to do!

  274. Sarah

    Hmmm….this article is to say the least, interesting. I will start by saying that it’s not okay to assume what the apostles response was to Jesus in these verses, and adding verses that you thought may have been omitted doesn’t mean anything. We don’t know what they said, and we can’t assume that those three verses were there and just ‘left out’. I agree that outward signs of success and wealth does not mean someone is a ‘good Christian’. But I do believe that if we are faithful and diligent to God and do His will He will bless us. Jesus states in Matthew 6:3-4 “But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.” If we obey God and follow His commandments He will bless us. It may not be financially or in our worlds standard of ‘success,’ but I do believe that we should give God credit for every good thing in our life and that the word ‘blessed’ should not be a bad word for Christians. I am immensely blessed by God and I want people to know that.

    • Sarah

      And I have one more thing to ad Job 42:12 says “12 Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys. “

  275. Jesus is indeed the blessing. But, we like to equate things that bolster our self apart from God as blessing. http://choosetotrust.com/2012/10/result-of-the-blessing/

  276. Tom Harkins

    The key here is that there may be more than one type of “blessing” and we should be thankful for them all. One type of blessing may be “more important” than another (those specifically directed to spiritual growth), but it is likewise right to be thankful for “our daily bread” or anything else that God may provide to us. “Every good and perfect gift comes from above.”

  277. Jennyroo

    I liked this article. It reminded me of something I heard once about the use of God in sports… Tebowing and the like. The argument was, if at the Superbowl, the winning quarterback thanks God for the win, then that means that for some reason of another that means God wanted one team to win and one team to lose. And why would God care about the outcome of a professional sporting event? Similarly, God has not blessed you with the goodness in your life. I like the use of the word grateful… it is good and humbling even to feel grateful for the goodness in your life. But it is not there because God chose it for you, because that would mean that he for some reason DIDN’T choose it for another person, and again, why would God want you to drive a nice care or live in a nice house. So much to think about here. Thanks for sharing.

  278. Brad B

    Great article! All over social media I see – got a new car, so blessed…. went to pay my bill but had already paid it, blessed…. getting to go to Hawaii on vacation… god is good, so blessed…. I am ready to see – wrecked my car, lost my job, kid is sick…. but God is still good! I’m blessed!

    • Roch

      You don’t want to be Blessed like I have been… my wife died 2 1/2 years ago, and I am single-parent to 2 boys. I don’t have a CLUE what God is doing to me/us through this Blessing, but I still praise Him.

      • seeker4truth

        My heart goes out to you Roch. Sometimes we cannot see what God is doing and it makes no since. At these times I focus on who God is and I then place my trust and faith in Him for He is holy, righteous and just. I rest in this truth. I pray for you and your precious sons in this most difficult period of your lives.

  279. Mary O

    Not to tempt pride but this was well said. Thank you for sharing what the Holy Spirit has inspired within. God Bless,

  280. Robin White

    OK, I’m about to split some hairs but I’ll try to be gentle:
    This article states “If we’re looking for the definition of blessing, Jesus spells it out clearly” and then quotes the Beatitudes.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but these are examples of people who are or who will be blessed, not the definition of “blessed”.

  281. So many of these comments make me glad I believe I am more spiritual, and do not identify with any religion in particular. I would just like to say that anything I choose t o do is between me and God. I don’t believe he loves me any less because of my choices. I’m not gay. However, I believe that my relationship with God wouldn’t change one bit if I were. I don’t believe that being gay is a choice. Sure, the decision to ACT upon those urges is a choice. I won’t deny that. But I refuse to believe that GOD would allow people to be gay, and then refuse them his love unless they turn their backs on a sexual orientation that they didn’t ask for, and probably wouldn’t have chosen for themselves. To be burdened with the choice to deny themselves all basic human needs regarding love and affection, or embrace their sexual orientation and be refused God’s love and a place in Heaven, seems like a cruel game to me. And MY God is not cruel. The God that I have in my heart embraces love, ALL love. He is kind. He doesn’t judge. He understands, and is patient. And I believe that he doesn’t keep score in terms of people’s sins. I believe that he doesn’t care what I do , as long as I care for others, for myself, and try to be a better person than I was yesterday.

  282. Good article but I believe everything is a blessing from God, right down to the air we breathe. I agree that God does not bless people solely through material possessions, but that doesn’t mean he can’t. He is God after all and who are we to tell him how he can or cannot bless people. I believe the main thing here is to remember that God does not bless us for our sake alone but to use that blessing to bless others. I have no problem saying, “Thanks God,” for the new car that my wife and I just bought. It is a great gift. Our old car was a piece of junk but now, we can lend it and give rides to people without worrying about safety issues or worrying about if it will break down. But the main thing is I truly believe God can bless people in various ways like the article suggests but in the end everything we have in life is a blessing from God and he deserves our gratitude.

  283. I feel blessed I stopped reading this around sentence #3. God is good.

  284. This was lovely, thank you.
    I’m a Unitarian, and I enjoy when people examine things they take for granted, say as routine, etc. I share your feeling that the “prosperity gospel” idea has no place in faith. Financial success comes from a combination of where you’re born, luck, hard work, or your parents’ hard work. How much money/how comfy your life is has NOTHING to do with your religious beliefs or if you’re a Christian – otherwise, how do you explain rich people of other religions?
    We are blessed by the good we do for others and the positive footprint we leave on the world before we die.

  285. I understand what you’re trying to say, and I agree with the principle (I think) behind what you’re saying.

    However, I have two comments to make.

    “10 The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold. 11 Then all his brothers and all his sisters and all who had known him before came to him, and they ate bread with him in his house; and they consoled him and comforted him for all the adversities that the Lord had brought on him. And each one gave him one [c]piece of money, and each a ring of gold. 12 The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had 14,000 sheep and 6,000 camels and 1,000 yoke of oxen and 1,000 female donkeys. 13 He had seven sons and three daughters. 14 He named the first Jemimah, and the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch.”

    The second:
    I have been in a situation where I was on the verge of being financially bankrupt as I started my working life because I had to pay a backbreaking rent on minimum wage to support my family, and I thanked God for that and for a crust of bread when that was all we had in the house.
    I thanked Him tonight when I ate a full meal and when I have a decent month’s salary coming into the bank on Friday.

    Those lessons taught me that I am to help those who are struggling and needy, as He helped me.
    They are both blessings.

  286. Steph

    Love the article. I think there’s a typo: $1 per day (not $10). You refer to the figure as “single-digit” two sentences later, so I’m pretty sure you meant to write $1.

  287. Carol Mathenia

    Thank you for bringing this to my attention!! I just need to be grateful for all God has provided. May I continue to grow in Him and do my part to help further His Kingdom!!

  288. Semper Fi Sabrina

    I understand what the guy is saying. People drop that word “blessed” or “blessings” without really thinking of what it means. There are even non-Christian New-Agey types who do the same…with the phrase Blessed Be. Some treat it like some password or incantation to get all the goodies in life…and a you see a lot of that in the churches that teach the “Prosperity Doctrine.” Sure it’s easy to feel “blessed” when everything is going your way, but what about when it’s not? Are we then cursed? I think of Job when his wife told him to curse God and die. We’re to be grateful to God in everything, regardless of circumstances. It doesn’t mean being in denial, pretending all is ok when it is not. Sorry, if I lost my job or found out I have a terminal illness, I would not feel “blessed” and I would be very offended if someone expected me to deny my feelings by saying I must say that. God allows things to happen that are bad, for a variety of reasons…for us to depend on Him in totality…and to trust Him, no matter what. Really, if ya read Psalms, we’re NOT blessed…it’s the Lord who is blessed. One Psalm after another repeatedly says “Bless the Lord, o my soul, blessed art thou O Lord.” We as Christians need to be saying “I’m blessed” less and “thy will be done” more.

  289. Amanda

    This is SO true. Overused & misunderstood.

    • Barbara Gatts

      “Blessed” always makes me think that the person using it about himself is really saying, “See how much better God loves me than you!”

      • I used to see a state prison inmate everyday (cleaning crew at my state office). I would ask her how she was, and every time she would say, I’m blessed. I don’t think she was saying God loved her more than me.

      • Thank you, BArbara GAtts! You simply stated the simple point the author was trying to get across.

  290. I tend to call myself ‘spoiled’ when it comes to the great comfort I have. Blessed? That comes when the Lord helps me learn and grow, and that has yet to be achieved in comfort, I’m sorry to say. At least in my life. PTL

    • Judy

      “Blessed? That comes when the Lord helps me learn and grow, and that has yet to be achieved in comfort”…
      This is so painfully true, that it actually made me laugh 🙂

  291. Connie Rumberger

    Thank you for helping us all to understand what we too often fail to remember…that God gave us a brain to use for good, for everyone’s good. We all trip and fall all the time because we are imperfect. Our need should be to follow God’s plan for us by asking Him to show us His way each day.

  292. I am no longer involved with an organized religious group. I still am enthralled with the concepts outlined in the Sermon on the Mount. I have felt estranged from the political religious right since the turn of this century because they seem to see agnostic souls like myself as evil. I admit to negative feelings toward them as well…mostly because of their claim to be Christians while totally ignoring the loving words attributed to Jesus in the New Testament. Politics and money gathering do not mix well with religious ego. We all must strive to do well for ourselves and our family, but thinking God has our monetary gain on the top of his “to do” list seems to be very small minded and myopic. Thank you for your words. I feel less alienated from my fellow American.

  293. Cythia Carloni

    I see some of the points this article makes. However, even if we refer to being blessed over material things I personally don’t think its because we earned it or are being rewarded somehow when so many are not but God still allowed it to happen. So, my belief always was that because everything that happens is God’s Will no matter what we do or don’t do, its a blessing….a gift…… So I look at all the good things in my life, material or nonmaterial, as not just blessings but gifts to be shared. And sometimes, even the not so good things become blessings because everything works out for the good whether we get to realize it or not.

  294. KIM

    Wow, this really spoke to me in a time of great consternation regarding my faith. Like you, I am suspicious of the easy “I’m blessed” and also of the “Satan made me do it” exhortations of my fellow Christians. I don’t think God doles out goodies based on our socio-economic status, country of origin,or even our race or sexual preference. This whole “blessed” or “satan is after me” idea relieves too many people of thier own responsibility for doing what’s right.

    • you hit it right on the nail! I rather dwell on the “what if’s”. I remember in my college years, when Bill Cosby gave a show on our campus and made reference to a friend (Philosophy major) going around questioning things, such as “why is there air?” I remembered laughing so hard, not knowing that that phrase became the governing guideline as to how to view things in life. The important thing was that one always stayed in the middle and there was no emotional lingering to any side.

      Moky

  295. Pingback: One Thing I Won’t Stop Saying – A Response to “The One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying” | By The Book

  296. Anon

    Makes me think of Chris Rock’s bit, “God bless the USA and nobody else.” Thanks for the reminder.

  297. Heidi

    Deuteronomy 28 gives another list of blessing.

  298. Linda Gray

    I loved this article and it really helped me to see that when I struggle with financial issues it does not mean that God is not blessing me in other ways. I also read where God did bless Abraham and Isaac with material wealth, such as: “Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him” Genesis 26:12
    Genesis 24:35 The LORD has blessed my master abundantly, and he has become wealthy. He has given him sheep and cattle, silver and gold, male and female servants, and camels and donkeys. Maybe this is where people get this thought from…?

    • Maximus

      Notice you will always be going to Old Testament scripture to find prosperity blessings and promises. Old Testament is keeping physical laws = physical blessings; New Testament is Spiritual with the Holy Spirit and Spiritual blessings…the early Christianswere in abject poverty, tortured and martyred… and as pointed out in the article…most Christians today live in poverty and under extreme duress…but I thank God we receive Spiritual rather than physical blessings on promises. In fact Christ warns us not to store up earthly wealth but to focus on the spiritual.

  299. I would just add that you don’t have to appeal to Scripture (or the lack of promises in Scripture for prosperity) to know that something is wrong with this unexamined habit of gushing about blessings while others languish in difficulty. We forget how many years passed before the advent of the printing press and how few people even now have access to or read the Bible if they have it. The presence of God in each of us provides enough discernment to notice that blessings are unequally distributed so indeed God must not be up to what we so often attribute to God. We must face the human origins of Scripture–which no doubt contains wisdom and guidance–but which also contains the rhetorical flourish of triumphalism, as well as the exuberance of those who’ve gone before us experiencing goodness and looking for words to fit the moment. These words when pasted all over the place(both at the time of their writing and now on all the places we write them) sometimes are very insensitive to the real life situations of others and leave God looking fairly capricious and as one who plays favorites. We all struggle to understand why things are good or bad for us and certainly we want words to express these realities, but i agree that we should try to tone down the religious talk, lest our “good be spoken of as evil.”

  300. Well said!!! You certainly take much passion and detail in what you write. Good Job.

  301. Reblogged this on Casual Perspectives and commented:
    I was reading at various blogs out there and stumbled on this one. It’s a post to start some thinking. Enjoy!!

  302. Good thoughts. Word of advice: proof read.

  303. Vicki & Jon

    Somewhere in the over 400 posts, I lost track of a post that was in reply to my post about my friend who was given 3 months to live. They are ordering some sort of machine (I don’t remember what they called it) that has supposedly had great results for people with late stage cancer. I don’t know if it is the same place you referred to. Please DO keep her in your prayers. There are thousands of people through the country (and outside the country as well) praying for this sweet woman of God. and we would all feel blessed to see a miracle occur.
    Vicki.

  304. Momof4inNY

    While I agree, there are some who inaccurately equate “blessing” solely with material wealth, health, beauty, etc., I don’t believe saying “I’m blessed” perhaps when a prayer is answered, (which might have included a newer car, or a college scholarship, or another day to live) is harmful, provided my meaning isn’t misconstrued. The meaning of the word blessed, (as a verb), means to give or to bestow, or to grant favor. My intent in saying “I’m blessed” is to recognize God’s hand in my life in whatever fashion it has moved. Since ALL things come from God, to say “I’m blessed” when He brings something to my life, I believe, is honoring to Him, shows gratitude, and exalts Him for what I have, not myself, and certainly does NOT imply that He would favor me over someone else. I recognize I would not have people or things or circumstances in my life unless God allowed them to be there. I consider my children blessings, my husband a blessing, my life a blessing. He has blessed me with certain talents and abilities, with a degree of intelligence, with empathy, with the gift of mercy… I am also blessed because of the things he has withheld from my life. To think otherwise would be insulting to God. Saying I’m blessed does not imply that God has chosen to give “more” to me. He just gives differently, at different times, in different places, to different people, in different situations, but EVERYTHING I do have comes from Him. To think otherwise is arrogant. We would also do well to remember that He also has the ability to remove His “blessing” as well, according to His will for our lives.

    • Gail Haynes

      I agree. Blessings come from God in many forms to remind us of his involvement and loving care. Realizing that it is not because I am deserving just makes me praise God more.

    • Tom Fineout

      that is the best most rational response to this post i’ve read. I am blessed. I thank God he bless’ me daily and I pray I never take for granted His blessings. I surely don’t deserve it but I’m still thankful and humbled because of His blessings He bestows on me…like Mercy and grace and forgiveness, etc. I would spend more time reading and learning God’s word rather than telling others how they should live or act. Sorry didn’t mean to start preaching at anyone… God Bless!

    • Stephen

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • Lindsey Y

      Absolutely agree 100%

    • Lori

      Well said. This is something I’ve wondered about for year, and I think I now feel comfortable saying I’m blessed because the glory is going to God whether He gives or takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!

  305. Scott

    Sounds like you feel like ” you’ve got it figured out”. That since you have been a disingenuous Christian who says things like” I’m Blessed ” for the wrong reasons ,that all the other people who are saying that must be doing the same thing. There are many reasons why people might say things like that. many are positive, like trying to be consciously grateful, or maybe expressing their Christianity and their reliance on God.Some are negative ,like having spent a lifetime in church and never actually experiencing Jesus they feel the need to act and speak Chistianese.But it’s no better for a Christian to judge the motivations of other Christians than it is to judge anyone else.
    It seems like what your doing here is trying to shift from focusing on your problems to focusing on ” their ” problems and it sounds like unerneith all this explaining what real Christians should say talk what your really concerned about is,” if I have success and money am I gonna get punished for it”
    Jesus gave up his job, which didnt make him wealthy, and walked around in modest clothes living off the kindness of others (and blessings from God: feeding 5000 for example),as did the other disciples, and said things like, “sacrifice your life as I have”,and things like, ” easier for a camel through the eye of a needle……”. And on and on.
    I don’t think he meant a rich person could never find his way ,I think what he was saying is its not likely, so I don’t recommend it. Something along the line of: you wouldn’t tell your child to go out and quit school, and do drugs and go to jail to become the president of a company and have a great life.
    Lastly knowing all kinds of cool stuff about the Bible and what we think it says can be a trap which leads us away from and not to knowing Jesus( as opposed to knowing about ) I wouldn’t concentrate so much on what” other people” are gonna think if we say things like”I’m blessed” but that’s just me thinking ” I know something”. “Rely not on your own understanding”. Human logic

  306. Kelly

    The second sentence gave me pause. Too bad the author could not see the irony of telling people what not to say, immediately after admitting to disparaging his Mother. He wasn’t especially insightful about his own speech and lost some credibility there. Yes, folks should be careful of what they say about their blessings in public, because bragging is not nice. But to suggest people not praise God for their blessings because somebody’s feelings might get hurt, is well, odd.

    Reducing God to a “cash register in the sky” is certainly one way of looking at the topic, but not the only way. Do you think God gives believers blessings in order to spread the Gospel? Nicodemus was a Pharisee who had wealth, influence and humility which he used for Jesus.

    Also, it seems to me that while some are hearing the word “blessings” as “I’m better than you,” some of those hearers might also be saying, “I’m more humble than them.” Is that not the same coin, different side?

    How about this, let’s not judge which blessings are legitimate or who’s more humble and simply encourage ALL people to follow Jesus and the Golden Rule? Thanks for your time.

    • Maximus

      He didnt disparage his mother…he disparaged his friends. And it was a joke. I think his point is all circumstances for a Christian are a blessing and to cry out that you are blessed when fun things happen diminishes the truth that bad things happening will be ultimately a blessing. I don’t think he’s saying not to give thanks.

  307. Marilyn

    I think what this all boils down to is what kind of a person are you? It doesn’t matter if you are Christian or not. The term “blessed”, generally, refers to a religious connotation, however, whether you are Christian or not, don’t be boastful. That is the lesson to learn from the original post. And from others in the thread, simply try to be a good person, whether you are Christian or not.

    Now, moving one step further with the original post, and briefly mentioned in the thread, why would someone inflicted with a life threatening illness or life changing illness, survive or suffer or less more than someone who supposedly had more prayers submitted for them, such as a prayer chain? It doesn’t make any difference if more prayers were submitted or not. People still die or suffer no matter how many prayers are submitted. These things happen due to nature, not because God favors one person over another due to the quantity of prayers submitted . I would like to see who made the original post address topic this and start a new thread.

    • Scott

      Hey Marilyn, To Christians it does matter if you are a Christian or not for the very reason you stated. Christians believe that there are no “good people” and that doing good works is not what gets you salvation( to heaven) which is why Jesus came to pay the price we could not( out of love for us) and we are saved through him. We were given the Bible to know how we should try to be and the ten commandments to break ourselves against. If you believe that people should just be good then you have to decide what good is. If ” good “is decided by mans version of morality then in some places its moraly correct that you should not murder and in other places its moraly correct that you should kill your enemies and eat them. Do you decide which is right or do they?
      Most Christians also believe God created everything,incuding time ,space and matter, and that if God could create everything that Exists ,that he could also put a baby in a virgin, or a man in a whale, or answer whichever prayers he wants , however he wants to answer them.
      Christians pray because we believe the Bible is inspired by God and the Bible says we are to pray and because through prayer we come to know God(not about God) As far as praying for others I personally only pray that people be saved. And when someone is suffering I just pray there name to him ,because I do not know what the best possible outcome is in this situation to all involved and even those who are not involved, because I do not know the future. But God does and he does what he does because what he does leads to the best possible outcome given the situation. (given free will and consequence).
      You made the statement that it doesn’t matter how many prayers are said, that it is just nature that causes death, but you have know way of knowing that . Christians believe God created nature and controls it and can end it anytime he wills it. Just because Gods answer is no sometimes does not mean he does not answer. But like I said I only pray for people to be saved and as for suffering people I pray their names to him, as I dont know what is the best thing for all concerned, i dont know that what is happening at this time is not precluding other suffering ,and dont presume to tell god what i think is best. Maybe he has us pray for them for our benefit not theirs.
      The Bible says ” God so loved the world”. Not God so loved just Scott,or Marilyn, or Bill. All choices have consequences and sometimes we are affected by our own choices and sometimes we are affected by the choices of others and sometimes we are affected by the choices of Adam and Eve.

  308. I have read this post with expectation of something totally different……Wow! I have to say, I am so guilty of this, especially the last two weeks( I will explain in a minute). I have NEVER thought about it in terms of making someone else feel slighted or unworthy of blessings! You have opened my eyes. Now…..I was diagnosed with breast cancer nearly two weeks ago, and I have told countless people who asked, that I felt truly blessed because it was found by(I know) not chance, but by God’s orchestration. I have felt blessed because it is small and not the worst kind. I have not realized that by saying ‘blessed’ I was making others who had a different type feel NOT blessed! I will try to make myself do like you, and say, I am grateful, which I totally am! Thank you for this posting!

  309. Shanda Holmes

    One other thing that occurs to me, semantically speaking, is the way that this language lends itself to loving and glorifying the gift rather than the giver. For example, I think of how our language might be different when speaking of a gift given by our lover versus a gift that may BECOME our lover. I might say “I am so blessed, Jeff is so considerate and loving; he knew exactly what I wanted (or needed)!” This refers to JEFF BEING the blessing, not the gift. This is a VERY different message than “Jeff blessed me with a new car! I had been asking him for a long time for one and have been faithfully saving and working hard to get him to hear my request. Then, today he got me the most amazing blessing of a car…” This last message is about MY worthiness and the coolness of the gift; it says little or nothing about the relationship with and to the Giver actually BEING the blessing. My opinion of my worthiness and my new car became my lover in this example.

    Take home message again is that relationship with the Giver is the blessing, not so much the gift. As we recognize the true “blessing” in the Giver, we begin to see more and more “gifts” (or blessings, if you must use that word) that we might have otherwise overlooked…

  310. Josh

    You are free to disagree with me, but I disagree. Material wealth is a blessing, but I agree it’s not a promise. It is not an absolute, for a lack of wealth can be just as much a blessing.

    “[G]ive thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thes 5:18, ESV). “Everything belongs to God…” (Heb 2:10).

    God is ceaselessly poring out His blessings on us, despite our awareness and gratitude thereof. The simple ability to make money is a blessing; God deserves the credit. God created the wealth you possess; it belongs to him, and yet He has blessed you with stewardship over it.

    To claim otherwise is to idolize oneself. You are right in saying God hasn’t chosen you over others based on some deeds you did or values held. No, for no other reason than His will, He blesses us each differently. No blessing supersedes other blessings; the blessing of wealth is no better than the blessing of poverty. We cannot look at God through human eyes.

  311. Deb

    So Mr. Dannemiller, you haven’t yet addressed my question: why is it okay to minimize the sin of disparaging your mother by treating it with a casual offhand remark that makes it seem okay? You make your point about our thoughtless and often offensive use of the words “blessing” and “blessed”, and provoke much discussion. How about a thoughtful conversation about your casual disregard of one of God’s clearest commands, honor your father and mother?

  312. Gary K

    I realized one Thanksgiving: Why do we thank God for the very things that keep us too busy to serve Him and too busy to spend much time with important loved ones?

  313. OMG you have said here so clearly what I always feel when I hear people say that! I was guilty of saying the blessed word all the time until one day I realized I hurt someone. I didn’t quite understand how or why at first. I stopped using that word though. Now I understand why. Thank you.

  314. ***

    Wow~ Perhaps my concept of the word blessed is too simplistic. I do believe that I am blessed. NOT because I deserve it of because of anything that I have done. I am grateful to God for what I have.

  315. David Daniels

    Scott, I appreciate your blog and love reading some of the entries here. I also appreciate your intention of helping Believers “clean” up some of the crazy things we say which add confusion to witness. Respectfully, I’d like to offer a different perspective:

    You use one text—the Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount—as your singular proof. Indeed, the word “blessed” that Jesus uses is literally translated “happy.” So, Jesus is stating that true happiness, joy, gladness or blessedness isn’t found in the typical system of the world, but in the counter-Kingdom life of Jesus. We will be happier when we live humbly, see sin for what it is, demonstrate mercy, suffer for our faith, etc. In this example, “blessed” is how I feel, my state of present contentment. And, if you only meant this, I would wholeheartedly agree.

    However, you say that Christians should never say they are blessed (“It’s just plain wrong”) and misses the issue on several points in my opinion. First, There are dozens of times in the Bible where people received something from God and were considered “blessed.” For example, in Genesis 30:30, Jacob explains to Laban how Laban has benefitted from Jacob living on his land. Jacob states, “The little you had before I came has increased greatly, and the LORD has blessed you wherever I have been.” In this case, blessing is equated with material increase. If someone had asked Laban, “Wow! What little you had has increased!” Laban could have well responded, “Yes, I have been blessed!”

    In Deuteronomy 7:14, the Israelites are reminded of God’s covenant promise, “You will be blessed more than any other people; none of your men or women will be childless, nor will any of your livestock be without young.” In this reference, “blessedness” is equated with fertility—the ability to multiply their people through child-bearing. God’s people, could have run out of the maternity ward and yelled, “It’s a boy! We are blessed!”

    In 2 Chronicles 31:10, people brought contributions for worship and the temple and the high priest commented, “Since the people began to bring their contributions to the temple of the LORD, we have had enough to eat and plenty to spare, because the LORD has blessed his people, and this great amount is left over.” Once again, the evidence of blessing was abundance of provision. A neighbor could have asked another, “Why are you giving so much to the temple project?” and the other could have responded, “Because the Lord has blessed us in abundance.”

    Job 42:12 observes, “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys.” Clearly, this is material increase and Job would have been right on to exclaim, “I am blessed!”

    In each of these examples, the emphasis is on the Blessor (God), not the feeling of contentment and happiness in the one blessed. So, to be fair, when someone today says “I am blessed,” they could quite simply be exclaiming “The Lord has been good to me!” with emphasis on “the Lord.” And, in this way, they would be solidly God-centered and biblical. In fact, I would not discourage, but ENCOURAGE, them to continue expressing how “blessed” they are.

    This leads to a second comment about the post. You argue that to say I am blessed because “I got a raise today,” risks offending the millions of people who didn’t get the blessing. I think this is a potentially dangerous position. If you were writing a post about the false ideals of the prosperity Gospel that links material blessing as proof of God’s favor, I would say “Amen!” However, to say that I cannot rejoice and give God credit when I get a raise because other people didn’t get a raise is playing to a culture of “equality for all.” Little leagues all over the country are not giving out trophies anymore because it makes other teams feel so bad. So, can a pregnant mother not be blessed because she might offend mothers who are infertile? Can the man who just received a new heart not shout God’s goodness from the rooftop because he wants to be sensitive to all the people who didn’t get transplants…or who had failed transplants…or who live in countries that can’t do transplants? While I certainly believe it is crucial for Christians to be very sensitive to the needs/loss around the world and to never connect the gracious blessedness of God with their own spiritual performance or superiority, to keep silent is to miss an opportunity for worship. Psalm 67:1-2 rightly connects the blessings of God to global witness. God still blesses us “to be a blessing” and the blessings of God to me are my platform to proclaim the goodness of God to others around me. And, I should.

    Where I think I was most put on my heels is when you wrote, “The problem? Nowhere in scripture are we promised worldly ease in return for our pledge of faith.” While the comment is 100% true, it is presumptuous regarding the intent of the person who says “I am blessed.” Not everyone who says they’re blessed because they just got back from an incredible vacation believes that they earned that vacation for their righteousness…that they gave good morals to God and God gave them a week in the Rockies. If they did believe this it would be a ridiculous distortion of the Gospel. But to automatically assume that everyone who says “I am blessed” is connecting their blessing with their righteousness is quite unfair. I know many God-honoring, humble people who would not hesitate to say “I am blessed,” and what they truly mean is “The Lord has been good to me. Blessed be the name of the Lord!”

    I’m all for a strong fight against the prosperity Gospel. But, perhaps, to suggest that Christians cannot use the word “blessed” to reflect God’s tangible goodness in their lives doesn’t square with Scripture and risks confusing Christians who might very well be reflecting right praise to God for what He has done in their lives.

  316. your point is well taken. here is my story.
    years ago, when i was experiencing chronic pain, when asked how i was, i began to reply, i’m blessed. it was a reminder to me that i belong to Jesus and that is all i need.
    i had one friend who didn’t like my answer because it didn’t reveal enough about my physical state. but my answer was & is more of a reminder to me that my life is truly blessed at all times, not just when things are going smoothly. it is the most honest answer i can give.

  317. Stephen

    You question whether God is handing out blessings for positive behavioural reinforcement, and I would agree that is not the case.
    You use the analogy of giving your kids M&M’s for toilet training, and I’d agree God is not like that.
    But God does still bless human beings with an abundance of good things (and sometimes challenges). Why? Because we are his creation and he loves us.
    To continue the analogy of a parent and a child, I assume you also feed, care for, protect, punish, help and provide for your children (irrespective of whether they pee in the potty). They are blessed, not in a sanctified or holy way, but becuase you have favoured them as your own. I would hope they would recognise that and be thankful for it.
    Ultimately, I would agree that it is an “argument over semantics”.

  318. Carole W.

    So true. I received a different kind of “blessing” today. It is called a wake-up call. Thanks.

  319. Howard Norgaard

    Nine years ago my wife and I moved to our present location to be near our son and his family. This included being able to be a part of our church that is the kind of church we have always wished for. We are challenged to live for Christ. We have opportunity to serve in being a part of teams going to serve and sending other teams to people in need of help in many ways. We help by providing food for families in need who don’t attend our church. We don’t consider our church as the only church in town that people should attend. Each Thanksgiving when we say what we are thankful for, our family knows I will say, “our church.” In April 2013 our 49-year-old single son was found dead in his apartment. We received wonderful support from friends, relatives, and the people in our church. Our church friends continually check on us to see how we are doing. At the Christmas Eve service the realization that God gave His only Son to die for my son who is no longer with us hit me hard. Just after the service, I met a friend and he gave me hug and didn’t let go until my sobbing subsided. We are blessed to be in this town, in this church, and with our son and grandchildren.

  320. Scott

    Good point, but another perspective is that since we are blessed to be a blessing, to those who have much, much is required! So since we are so blessed, we better get busy blessing others.

  321. You add the post-script that you’ve decided to say “I’m grateful” instead of “I’m blessed”. I’d ask “Grateful to whom?” Is this not still a tacit acknowledgement that we are not in charge of our own fates?

    I agree with you that many christians have a shallow understanding of God’s blessings. But, to rule out the possibility of acknowledging and thanking God for blessings that take material form seems to throw the baby out with the bath water. God can and does choose to bless us materially at times. If I didn’t believe and acknowledge this, then the only other understanding left to me is to thank my own great talents, or luck, or fate. None of these fit with my understanding of my position in the world as God’s servant.

    Do I understand why God allowed me to be born in a first world country with great material wealth, food in abundance, access to jobs, health care, a secure environment? No, I don’t. Do I understand why God allows people who love Him, are faithful to Him, to suffer with disease, poverty, wars, famines? No, I don’t. But I have met and had fellowship with believers in both circumstances that acknowledge their blessings with sincerity and truth.

    God does, indeed, choose. He elects and predestines. I don’t understand it, but I acknowledge His right to do so. My purpose is not to make complete sense of His providence, but to take what I’ve been given, in what ever form it is given me, and use it to His glory.

  322. Bruce

    People…let’s not take this to an extreme here…getting all religious about it…God forbid we start saying “you can’t use the “B” word” similar to how we are saying “He said the N-word!”

  323. Greg Bunch

    Great post, Scott. Thanks.

  324. Jan

    Wonderful article. Well worth sharing.

  325. Ascott

    Hey, I just realized that the author is also posting under the name Scott here. This just came across my blog or whatever it is just came across my Facebook newsfeed and I didn’t look to see who the author was. I only posted a couple things a few posts ago and if I post again I will change my name to Ascott or something. Sorry for any confusion as I don’t usually post on things.

  326. Reblogged this on Elaine's Random Thoughts and commented:
    Very interesting post with good food for thought! I never thought about the meaning of the word “blessed” and how it may come across to others. Thank you!

  327. OK, no. God blesses you because he LOVES you, not because of anything you have done, are doing, or will ever do. You SHOULD give God the glory for everything. Everything you have and everything you are, and everything you’ve been through. To do anything less means taking some of HIS blessings for YOU. Ain’t gonna work. And “offensive to Christians living on $10/day”? Give me a break. Do you think they give God the glory for that $10? You betchya. Please don’t turn blessings from God into burdens on you. Hogwash! Your blessings from God are no different than you blessing your kids: you love them! So you bless them! Sometimes with things or acts that they love. Sometimes with discipline or consequences. God blesses you because he LOVES you, not because of anything you have done, are doing, or will ever do.

  328. We are blessed, with money, time, food and energy, in addition to faith, to be a blessing to others. I can’t help but point that out. Thank you for your article. It’s very thought provoking

  329. Tim

    I don’t know what bible you’re reading, but you need to look closer at what God’s word says. In your article, you said and I quote:

    ” Why wouldn’t I want to give God the glory for everything I have? Isn’t that the right thing to do?.. No ”

    Are you kidding ?

    In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 Paul says ” In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

    Notice what that says. In EVERYTHING give thanks, for THIS IS THE WILL OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS concerning you.

    Everything means exactly what it says. All things, whether good or bad. The good things are easy to be thankful for, but we are to also be thankful for the bad things because they produce the fruits of the Spirit in us.

    I certainly do not support the prosperity gospel because it is preached by wolves in sheep’s clothing for the purpose of making money, not saving folks from hell.

    But let’s not forget that Job was blessed with riches after enduring his trials, and Solomon also when he prayed for discerning wisdom was also blessed with financial wealth.

    You can choose to exclude thanks to God for your good fortune if you wish, but you are in error telling others to do likewise.

  330. Chelle Webb

    Finally! Someone puts eloquently what I has been feeling for a few years. I would say its the the modern non denominational churches/feel good books that have changed that line of thinking to this & it has permeated the fabric of our speech. It reminds me if the time that the churches were teaching to wait for the one special person god has waiting/chosen for you. My response was, if that person does then why is the person able to find another person suited for them & find deep meaningful love? In our quest to be “enlightened” & think we know better, we have ditched the universal basic teachings of scripture. I also would like to point out that Jesus was the most controversial person & was killed for it. It isn’t going to be easy & we were told that but in the modern non denomination churches, I see the brochures implying the opposite.

  331. ***

    Don’t be just a follower. Read the Bible. God speaks of blessing multiple times throughout His Word – not just The Beatitudes.

  332. Pingback: The One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying | room1019

  333. This was a useful philosophical exegesis. “Blessed” isn’t a feeling like sad, angry, happy etc. so if you answer a “How are you?” question using that word, you are answering one that was not asked, and avoiding an invitation toward equal relationship. Psychologically speaking, it’s a defensive response.

  334. art

    you’ll be blessed

  335. Chris Simpson

    The article has a lot of merit. When it comes to Theologians