Yesterday we talked about the blessings God reviewed for the Old Testament people of God as revealed in Deuteronomy 28:1-14. We noted that OT blessings followed the Abrahamic covenant that God would bless him in one of or all of four ways: land, descendants (some people think kids are a blessing:-), prosperity, and defeat of enemies. However, we noted that the real blessing was spiritual and that Jesus confirmed that for NT covenant people in his "blessings" in Matthew 5. Conclusion? Our blessings are spiritual and we as followers of Christ should not expect prosperity, land, progenity or defeat of enemies in the earthly sense.
But what if we are prosperous? We do have big and healthy families? We seem to overcome all of our foes and detractors? We have lots of possessions? Well here (in expanded form) are the five answers I gave from God's perspective on what to do if God Old Testament (physical) blesses you on top of New Testament (spiritual) blesses you.
1. Be thankful. These things are true blessings because every good and perfect gift comes down form the Father of heavenly lights (James says). So if you have much you should thank God for his grace on top of grace.
2. Be aware. Don't assume for one minute that this is the case for all of God followers. I don't have stats for this, but I'd say that the majority of the world's Christians live in poverty. Any time you hear a televangelist talking about how God loves to give cars and houses and worldly prosperity to believers who trust in him; you need to take a missions trip. I've been in worship services in Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Mexico City that are filled with Spirit-filled Christians who have nothing in the earthly sense but would call themselves "blessed" (and biblically speaking they are spot on).
3. Be generous. Selfishness and unwillingness to share are not Christian attitudes. If you have been given a lot, I believe you be increasingly generous. This means you should give now and you should give more later. One monk said, "Make all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can."
4. Be willing to give it all up. You know the story of the rich ruler right? Jesus challenged him to give away all his stuff and follow him. Would you? Could you? You'd better or else you can't be a follower of Jesus. NOTE: this is easier to do "hypothetically speaking" so you should regularly follow number three above to actually put your money where you mouth is!
5. Ask how you can bless others with what you've been blessed with. This is the kicker about yesterday's teaching. Did you know that God didn't give land, kids, prosperity and peace to Abram for Abram? Nope. It was for God's glory...that all nations on earth would be blessed through Him. Think of it. All the stuff you have isn't about you or for you? It's for God and His name.