When a new friend gives you the one-finger salute on the highway...
When do people most often say, "God bless you?" When do you say it? When you say/hear it, what is involved? What are you really asking for on behalf of the other person? Are you really seeking their blessing, and what would it look like, especially if all they did was sneeze?
An article by Craig Ford, worth the read, deals with the possibility that maybe the kinds of things we consider blessings are actually curses. They might actually be the result of our sinfulness being allowed by God and, to an extent, unrestrained by His merciful hand. This hardly means that every blessing we see is actually a curse in disguise. We're not saying when things start to look up for you, it's actually some trick of God to torment you. We are saying that looking at the hardship of others with little material wealth to their name as not being blessed ("in the same way," we might add to make ourselves feel better about the lives we lead) is perhaps short-sighted and earth-bound. This may take some mental work for you to wrap your mind around the idea, that one's "blessed life" could, in fact, be the exact opposite.
Big family, lotsfriends, great reputation, good at sports (etc.), nice home/car (owned, not renting), big screen TV... the list could go on and on, forever, couldn't it? Why do we call these blessings?
Could it be that we believe these things bring ease and comfort, and these things are highly valued to us? Ford asks if maybe the things we "christen" a blessing when we see them are actually a selfish running after our flesh, our selfish wants, and a false god we exalt above the living God. His article challenged me to see my own ideas of blessing very differently. What if the blessing we see is God calling someone to repentance that is missed because we look with our eyes instead of the mind of God?
What do you think? In what ways could a perceived blessing in your life actually be a curse? Would there be any benefit to considering how our material blessings affect our relationship to God and to others?