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- Christianity, the Bible & Jesus
What is the real blessings?
We often point out people and say like "He is a blessed person", "She is a blessed women" etc. While you say he is a blessed person, what do you meant by that?
Once I asked my wife. Are we blessed? She said "yes, surely we are blessed"
I again asked her "How can you say that we are blessed?"
She replied. When we came to Delhi we were staying at a rented apartment. Now we have our own flat.
"OK" I said "then what else?" She started to name other things like refrigerator, tv, washing machine, Laptop, bed, table, chair....
She mentioned all the household items she could, then our income sources, our children etc.
If some one ask you the meaning of blessings, what comes into your mind. What do you meant by the phrase "You are blessed"
If someone says that you are blessed, then what do you expect from that blessings, what comes into your mind.
To some blessing is a lot of money at their disposal. To some other earning a name and fame in the society. To some blessing means more pleasure. Have you ever thought what blessing really is? If you get all those things like money, fame, pleasure and happiness etc., do you think that is the real blessings?
I pray every day. While praying I request God to bless me. Let me tell you honestly, when I pray for the blessings, the picture comes into my mind or the desire of my heart is that to have a bigger flat, a nice car, good education for my two daughters, beautiful, smart and wealthy husbands for my two daughters (when they grow up) steady income without any interruption, good health, good vacation, fame and name in the society... the list goes endless. That are the things I expect from the word blessings. When I have all these things in my life, then people around me would say that I am blessed.
If I live in scarcity, or if I live as a poor beggar, then the people around me would say that I am cursed by god that I am not getting any good things in my life. In the standard of the society, blessings means being wealthy, healthy and having power and fame and leading a luxurious life in this world.
But when I read the bible, it surprised me. In Luke 16: 19 Jesus talk about two people who lived in this world. One rich man and the other, Lazarus, a poor beggar. Bible does not talk about the spiritual side of the life of these two people. We do not have more details about their conduct or life of these two people except the fact that the one was rich and the other was a poor. Bible says "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores."
From the above we understand that one was a rich and the other was a poor beggar. Both lived their life in this world. From the last part of the story we can understand that both were Jews and were well aware of Moses and other prophets. They were aware of the law of Moses which was given them to follow. I assume that both followed their religious life.
Again bible says "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried."
Both died. I hope the rich man get a better funeral service than the beggar Lazarus. High priest may have come and presided the funeral service. As per the norms of the society, the rich man lived a blessed life. God blessed him with health, wealth, good food and a luxury life. He may have donated a lot of money to the church. He may have provided money to the poor and helped them. There are many things to mention in the speech during the funeral service. Most of the people in the society may have attended the funeral service and would have commented that the rich man lived a blessed life. Even today we do the same. We look for the good things people enjoyed during their life and we mention about it during the funeral service. We praise the deceased one a lot. We never hesitate to say that they will be in paradise and enjoying the good thing at heaven and by these words we comfort the immediate relatives of the deceased one. It is natural and we assume that those who had a good life in this world will go to heaven after their death.
In the case of Lazarus, the beggar, when he died, some of the employees of the rich man may have come forward and conducted the funeral service without any celebrations. Even if the local pastor came up for the funeral service, he would not have a point to mention about Lazarus during the funeral service. He was a beggar. He lead a pathetic life. No blessings from the god. No blessings from the people around him. There is nothing to mention during the funeral. There is no memorials or flowers. There wont be many people except the employees of the rich man. (I hope since the Lazarus was living in front of the rich man's house, when Lazarus died the rich man may have sent his employees to do the needful to avoid any unpleasant situation). The funeral service could have finished within a few minutes.
As per the human standard, the rich man was a blessed and the Lazarus was not blessed in his life. But the situation changes dramatically in the second part of the parable.
Bible says "The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’
Now Lazarus leading a good life and the rich man leading a pathetic life in Hades, where he was in torment.
Now the question is who got the blessings? As per the human standards, the life of the rich man was blessed. But in the sight of God, the poor beggar Lazarus is blessed and the rich man led a pathetic life.
It remind me the bible verse 1 Samuel 16:7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart
This story teaches us a lesson. Material blessings are not the medium to scale the real blessings of the God. There is much more than that. It doesn't say that only poor people will be in heaven. Because we know that Abraham was a very rich man in his time. Abraham believed God and lead a good life. God blessed him. Abraham is in heaven with Lazarus by his side. Material blessings is not the standard to judge people. If one is a poor person, he is not cursed or not away from heaven. Poor people can also get heaven as well as rich people.
Blessings of God is not determined with the bank balance we have. Blessings depend on how we pleases god. It doesn't mean that all poor people will go to heaven. Whether you are rich or poor, you need to have a God fearing heart.
If the blessings means leading a life that help me to reach heaven after my earthly life, then my prayers needs to be changed considerably. When I ask God to bless me, I must desire for a life that pleased God. Now I pray to God for help me to lead a life that pleases God so that I could reach heaven after my life in this earth. Having a life that pleased God is the blessed life. In this life we get good and bad things. We face good as well as bad situations. It should not affect our relationship with God. Blessed life is having a God fearing life. I expect from God a spiritually, physically, emotionally better life.
When I pray to God to bless my children, I should imagine or desire that my children should lead a life that pleases God while enjoying all the good things in this world. That is the real blessing.
Now tell me what is your concept of Blessings?
Now a days children are away from God just like the rich man who had everything he needed in his earthly life. Slowly he may have forget God, but did all the rituals laid down by the religion and felt good about it. But his heart was away from God. In this generation, our children are the ones who are most blessed with material things. We are trying our level best to give them best life possible. They have choicest food to eat, nice houses to live, good vehicles for transport, good education, better job, good life partner to live with. Because of all these good things which we provide for them, they do not feel the need of God or God's blessings. They are away from God. They don't have to depend on God or pray for a thing. Everything is readily available for them.
The Rich and the Kingdom of God
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.”
“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:17-23)
This is another event where Jesus talk about the riches of this world. If this is the real truth, then we must understand that Richness is not the medium to measure the blessings of the God. Even those who do evil are gaining money through corrupt ways.
Here Jesus looked at this man and loved him. Jesus loved his soul and foresaw that this man is traveling in the wide road to the hell. To get to heaven, there is only one way available in front of this man. Transfer his earthly wealth with the heavenly wealth. By giving his wealth to the poor, he is amassing wealth in Heaven. That is why Jesus said "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.
We know the story of Ananias and Sapphira. They wanted to sell and give the money to the apostles. But the love of money prevented them from doing the right thing.
All self help books and seminars teaches about becoming rich and famous. But what bible tells us about becoming rich.
1 Timothy 6:9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
James 5:1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. James also warns the rich people.
When the Devil came to tempt Jesus the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Devil is offering wealth and riches even today. But Jesus said give it to poor and store wealth in Heaven. Jesus says entirely opposite to what the devil said. Now tell me what you think about blessings? Is it amassing wealth in this world?