Ephesians 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,…
John never helped around the house in spite of his mother’s insistence. He came home from school, played video games, ate supper with the family, and watched TV until he was tired and ready for bed. Whenever his mother or father began to talk to him about things he ought to be doing, like cleaning his room, taking out the trash, or helping wash dishes, he would roll his eyes and shut them out.
One day he came down to eat supper only to find that there was nothing for him to eat. When he got up in the morning there were no clean clothes to wear. When he missed the bus to school his father told him he would have to walk. When he wanted to buy a new video game his mother suggested he “get a job”.
John was angry at first. How could his parents do this to him? What had he done to deserve such treatment? After all, it is their responsibility as parents to take care of him, isn’t it?
But after a few days, his mother and father lovingly told him that they need his cooperation. That if he did his part they would continue to do all the things that they had done before and other nice things as well. John didn’t like it at first but as he began to do the things that his parents asked and he began to receive special benefits from them in return.
In this story, you may think that I am telling you that if you follow God you will be blessed and that if you don’t you will be “cut-off” from his blessings. I am not really saying that. Jesus said, “God causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust.”
But as I have talked and counseled with people I see a theme developing that I don’t like. They have these “woe is me” stories to tell. Everything is going wrong in their life. When I talk to them I find that they are living outside of God’s will and his word. And they want me to pray for them, encourage them, and sometimes even give them assistance. I try hard not to judge them. I try to help. But I don’t think my advise is always accepted.
God loves to bless people. He loves to give them their “daily bread”. He loves to show him his everlasting love. God is really cool that way. Isaiah 55:1-3 is an invitation for people to come receive God’s blessings without cost or labor. But it does require self-sacrifice, you have to be willing to come.
So why is it that we want all of God’s blessings without even trying to follow his way? Why do we want God to make everything right in our lives when we are busy trying to make things wrong. We want the milk and the water without being willing to come to him.
I talked to someone once who was caught driving under the influence of alcohol for the third time. He asked me to pray for God to keep him from doing jail time. He literally wanted a “Get Out of Jail Free” card from God. I prayed that God would be with him and help him endure the consequences of his actions no matter what they were. He ended up spending some time in jail.
It’s kind of like my weight loss efforts. I step on the scales hoping that the scales not only look past my self-indulgences and lack of effort to exercise but to also bless me with with a loss of weight. It just doesn’t work that way.
Sometimes the blessing is in the reality too. If the scales didn’t tell the truth I would probably not put the effort in to lose weight. I would not be motivated to do better. I would just continue to try to subject the scales to doing things my way in spite of eating what I want and not exercising.
For John, the real blessing is that he has parents who care and want him to be a better person. They stepped out of the roll of provider long enough to show John that he has responsibilities too. That took guts, because many people would criticize them for what they see as neglect. John could have became one more spoiled and entitled child who never grows up. But instead, his parents showed him how to be responsible.
I pray that God will bless you today. But I also pray that you will submit to his will and his word in your life. Then you will see real “showers of blessings” from above.
Dear God, I am sorry for the times I have expected blessings without submitting to you. Help me to follow your will and your way. Help me to see the blessings in all the circumstances in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.