From across the hallway, I heard Brad sneeze three times. "Achoo!" "Achoo!" "Achoo!"
"God bless you." "God bless you." "God bless you." I said. We both laughed. But, now I wonder, just what do we mean by the words, 'God bless you'.
Later, in my car, I'm reminded of those words, and again I wonder, what do we mean when we say 'God bless you' to someone or even more, when we pray these words. I have prayed many times that God would bless my family, my friends, my church, and myself. Was it just a general expectation that God would prosper us, or that we would be happy, or have a good day? I have to admit, I have thought that God's blessing was little more than this.
But, God's blessing is so much more. When God blesses us, he will not simply give us things to make our lives happy and prosperous, but, he will give us things that will bring us closer to himself. And what more could we desire than to know God and to be in a thriving relationship with him. Each time that I say God bless you, what I mean is that I want God to bring you closer to himself.
Let's name some ways that God blesses us or brings us closer to himself. Time alone with him to meditate, to pray, and to read his Word is my richest blessing. Also, he places within us a hungry heart that causes us to long for him and keeps us ever searching for him. The people in our lives who encourage us and are not afraid to be truthful with us are also blessings. Trials are blessings in disguise that teach us to trust him and to rely on him for every need.
In contrast, we could add, sometimes when God blesses a person with wealth and success, the blessing can become an idol. An idol can be anything that takes the place of God in our hearts. That person may become preoccupied with the things that wealth can buy or he may come to believe that he earned success and therefore does not give God thanks for blessing him.
I wanted to take this idea of blessing even farther, so I asked my family, "What blessings or things bring you closer to God?" For Larry, it was running, because it makes him feel alive. Melanie said that for her it's listening to Christian radio on the way to work and school, because the songs help her worship God. Being with other Christians was what Hannah said brings her closer to God. We can see that Gods blessings are many and varied, and may be different things for different people, but we would all agree that we are truly blessed by God. So, the next time you pray for God to bless someone remember that what you are asking is that God would bring them closer to himself. Have a blessed day!
......blessed are the people whose God is the Lord. Psalm 144:15b