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June 17, 2013, 10:28 AM

Blessed.


Its easy to say we're a blessed people.  We have a lot of the world's wealth; a lot of the world's food supply; houses without holes; cars with tires, windows, and gas stations on every other corner;  pets; a change of clothes or two or twelve; etc... etc... America is a blessed country.  We have freedom, which is something we should be proud of.  

Why do we struggle then with living through the Beatitudes?  After all, we already have the "Blessed" part down, don't we? All that needs our attention is what comes after that....... and therein lies the problem.  We want the "blessed" part but not so much the Poor in Spirit part. 

Lets remind ourselves a little about the context of the Beatitudes, so we don't wander too far from them:  The Sermon on the Mount was spoken to a Jewish audience, with a Jewish story, and a Jewish context for the words laid out before them.  They had an understanding that far exceeds ours when Jesus told them about being "blessed".  For them, being blessed meant they had a part of the Kingdom being established by God eternally.  It had little to nothing to do with physical conditions, possessions, attitudes, emotions, or anything else on a daily level.  Being blessed held them to the understanding that all this is temporary and endurable because what comes next is far superior and worth waiting for.  

The mess of western culture and context that we associate with the word "blessed" is what (in my opinion) takes us so far away from the meaning of Jesus' words in the Beatitudes and makes them a little easier to ignore in their entirety.  Being poor doesn't sound like a blessing.  Mourning doesn't sound like a blessing.  Humility?  No thanks.  

Its about focus... and I'm using that word literally, what do we focus on?  I have poor eyesight and require glasses in order to make any sense of things that lie more than 3 or 4 inches from my face.  Without my glasses I could not distinguish these words as I type them... in order to focus on what is ahead of me, I need my glasses.  However, if I want to close my world off into a much smaller circle and free up my mind, all I need to do is take my glasses off.... Boom, my focus is shifted drastically.  What is going on outside my circle of sight is no longer "relevant" to me because I cant see it clearly anyways.  Mind you, that leaves me very open for a football to the face, but that's a different story of relevance all together.  

We need a shift in focus, much like the removing (or adding) of glasses.  Our eyes need to shift from being so caught up with this world and what it needs to offer that we have this far off and unfocused gaze about us.  We must know that this world only has temporary pains, temporary gains, and temporary trials that are not worth our continued focus.  Our eyes must be found drifting to the place that is eternally pain free, eternally healing, and eternally peaceful.  Because we are blessed.  

Be blessed today not because you're making a sufficient salary or hourly wage, but because you find yourself dependent on God alone. 

 


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