August 7, 2012
"I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others." Genesis 12:2
I love the blessing of Abram, don't you? God says to Abram in Genesis 12:2-3, " I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I
will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with
contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
I want that.
I want God to make me into a great nation . . . or at least allow me to live in one. I want God to lead me into a place of abundance, a place where all my needs are met, a place where I have rest from my enemies (Deuteronomy 6:11, 12:10). I want God to bless me and curse those who curse me. I want God to fill my life with good things.
But did you notice WHY God said He would bless Abram?
God didn't plan to bless Abram so that Abram could keep God's goodness to himself. God blessed Abram so that he could be a blessing to others, so that, "all the families on earth could be blessed through him" (Genesis 12:3).
The blessing of God comes with a high price. Luke 12:48 reads, "When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and
when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required."
I've glimpsed the two-thirds world, and I can say fervently--God has blessed America. I realize I am about to hit a hot button. But I believe God blessed America because of the values on which the forefathers founded this country--values which placed God first, principles which recognized that all we had came from Him. Our founding fathers did not lead perfect lives. But I believe they founded our country with hearts that sought to please God. And because they placed God first, God blessed our country. Since then God has used that blessing to bless the families who live in this country--including you and me.
What have we done with our blessing?
I know I sound as if I'm jumping on the bandwagon, and in many areas of my life I fail miserably . . . but we have SO much. We have homes, electricity, running water, more food than most can dream of (live on rice and beans for three weeks and you gain a renewed appreciation for variety). We play sports, drive cars, we have driveways for cryin' out loud (something the two-thirds world doesn't need since they do not have cars). These things in themselves do not prove evil . . . unless we pursue these things at the expense of blessing another.
While in Africa one of my teammates used the phrase, "The ball is in your court." Receiving only blank stares from our audience, we both quickly realized the ladies were unfamiliar with the game of tennis. I realize different countries practice different sports but I began to think about the game of tennis in America. I wondered how much money we as Americans spend on tennis--on court fees, memberships, training and cute outfits (tennis-skirts are the one reason I considered playing!). I wondered how much money we as Americans--better yet, we as believers--spend on sports in general. (It's okay, I'm prepared to receive disgust-mail for this!) I am not against organized sports! But I am against spending resources (time, money, etc.) on luxuries while millions live in poverty.
I am against spending energy asking what size Keurig I should buy when millions go daily without water. I am against over-scheduling my children in extra-curricular activities when thousands of children will die today for lack of food. I am against stocking my closet full of the latest styles (I'm sure that doesn't come as much of a shock to those of you who see me often) when women in Africa simply wrap themselves in a piece of material taken straight from a bolt of fabric.
I know it sounds harsh. I stand guilty in MANY areas of my life. But God has blessed us so that we may be a blessing to others. "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring
for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world
corrupt you." (James 1:27)
Rather than turning a deaf ear or a hardened heart, will you join me in asking God to break our hearts for what breaks His? Will you petition the throne of heaven with me as I ask God to show me how He intends to use my family and me to bless others? May He bless you even more for doing so.