January 16, 2018 • Life for Leaders
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
When I lived in Texas, I learned that the phrase “bless your heart” was used ironically. You wouldn’t say “bless your heart” to someone who was doing well. Rather, you’d say “bless your heart” to someone who was going through a tough time. Get a new job, nobody blesses your heart. Lose your job, and you’ll hear plenty of “well, bless your heart!”
According to Ephesians 1:3, God has blessed us aplenty, and more than just our hearts. We have been blessed “with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” This raises a question: What are we to do with the blessings God showers upon us?
Yes, to be sure, we are to enjoy the gifts of God. That’s one common and sensible response to blessing. But that’s not the end of it. Throughout Scripture, the blessing of God is to be stewarded by those who received. In Genesis 12:2-3, for example, God blesses Abram (later called Abraham) magnificently. As a result, according to the Lord, Abram “will be a blessing” (12:2). God explains, “I will bless those who bless you… and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (12:3). As Abram receives God’s blessing, he becomes a conduit of that blessing to others.
Ephesians 1 focuses on another human expression of blessing that comes as a result of receiving divine blessing. As you may recall, in yesterday’s devotion, I explained that “praise” in Ephesians 1:3 is actually the Greek word meaning “blessed.” The verse reads literally, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” When we are blessed by God, we respond by blessing God in return.
How can we bless the God who blesses us? Most obviously, like Paul, we can offer praise to God, thanking him for his gifts and celebrating his graciousness. God is blessed through the words of our worship. But we can also bless God by doing that which pleases him. God is blessed when we bless others. God is served when we serve others. God is loved when we love others in his name.
Something to Think About:
How have you passed on to others some of the blessings God has given you?
What helps you to praise God for his blessings to you?
Something to Do:
Psalm 103:1-2 urges us to bless God: “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits.” Set aside some time to bless (praise) the Lord. Don’t forget his many gifts to you. Instead, remember and praise!
Gracious God, how richly you have blessed us! How generously you have given to us! How lavishly you have loved us! All praise be to you!
As I continue to receive your blessings, Lord, may I be a conduit of your blessing to others and to you. Help me to live in such a way that all of my words and deeds honor you. Even when I’m focusing on my daily work, may I work in such a way that you are blessed. May I steward well all that you have entrusted to me.
Blessed are you, O God, the source of manifold blessings! Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
Abraham’s Faithfulness Contrasted with the Faithlessness of Babel (Genesis 12:1-3)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.