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Position Yourself for Blessing and You Will Be Blessed

by heaven 11

Mathew 5:1-12

O God, transform the poverty of our nature with the O God, transform the poverty of our nature with the riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your glory, in the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Blessing. No other word in Bible language give us more problem. What is a blessing? What does it mean to be blessed? How do we receive a blessing? Its so simple, I'm often amazed that most of us don't get it. It comes down to one simple, very biblical principle: "Position yourself for blessing, and you will be blessed."

What is a blessing? Jesus lists for us, in his Sermon on the Mount, those who are blessed. The poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the hungry, the merciful. All of these, Jesus says are blessed.

A little research will quickly reveal that this whole idea of blessing has its roots in the ancient beginnings of our tradition — Judaism. The concept of blessing appears first in the pages of the Old Testament. There, blessing is closely linked with thanksgiving. Blessing was received when someone had something worthy of giving thanks. Gifts were "blessed" as a way of giving thanks for them. God was blessed because he was to be appreciated and worthy of thanks. People became a blessing to others when they provided some material or spiritual graces worthy of thanks. To be blessed means that something to be thankful for has been received. To be blessed means to be in a happy, healthy state of body, mind and spirit. A blessing is desirable, something we all should want and need. Blessing is favourable, to our credit, a hope for wholeness, and an expression of thanks.

So we bless food before a meal as a way of giving thanks. We bless bread and wine in an act of great thanksgiving for all our gifts and favours at the eucharist (the Greek word for thanksgiving). We bless gifts we have received, thanking God for generosity shown. Priests bless congregations as a show of desiring and hoping for only the best gifts for them.

What blessing is not may be even more important. Blessing is not a magical dust which protects us from danger. Blessing is not a spooky way to assure that something or someone is always remains with good intentions. Blessing is not something that is bestowed on us by chance or in a random way. You don't have to wait for your number to be drawn by God to receive his blessing. You can be blessed now. You will be blessed now if you position yourself for blessing. Blessing is, for the most part, thanksgiving; thanksgiving for the peace and happiness that comes as a gift from a generous and gracious God.

How do we receive a blessing? Its fairly simple. "Position yourself for blessing, and you will be blessed. That's so important, I want you to repeat it with me. With me, say "Position yourself for blessing, and you will be blessed." Its not that you need to wait for God to decide to bless you. God wants to bless you now. God will bless you now, if you position yourself for blessing.

What does that mean? It means that when we are not the recipients of blessing, its not because our card wasn't drawn today ... its not always, but far too often its our own fault. Many of us are not blessed because we haven't positioned ourselves for blessing. On the other hand, I'm not sure I know of one example of someone who has made an effort to position themselves in that way who reports that they have not been blessed. "Position yourself for blessing, and you will be blessed." Not "maybe" you'll be blessed. Not, you'll be blessed if God happens to feel like it today. "Position yourself for blessing and you WILL be blessed."

Let me try to illustrate what I mean. In your spiritual life, positioning yourself for blessing is making time for prayer; making an effort to read, study and ingest God's Word not just on Sunday's but everyday; making time for God; being in church. One person once said to me they'd never received a spiritual blessing. When I inquired how much time they spent in prayer or bible reading, and how often they went to church, they said they don't do any of those things. Waste of time. That person was not willing to position themselves for spiritual blessing. Guess what? They weren't blessed. "Position yourself for blessing, and you will be blessed."

In our physical lives. Want to be in a situation where there are no blessings of health? Don't exercise. Drink two pots of coffee everyday. Eat all the fat and sugar you can get your hands on. Go on out and buy a package of cigarettes and start faithfully smoking at least a pack everyday. Within twenty years, maybe less, you'll be enjoying poor health. Its unlikely that any miracle of God or medicine will be able to erase the effects on your body. That's a perfect example of how not to position yourself for blessing. Want the blessing of good health? Position yourself for blessing and you will be blessed, physically.

In our moral lives. Don't uphold honesty as important. Cheat, lie and steal. Disregard the bible's teaching about commitment in relationships. Don't listen to how the bible speaks of the importance of marriage. I'm not passing judgement on anyone whose marriage didn't make it. I'm only pointing out that a broken marriage is not a blessing to anyone. Its painful, it hurts, its devastating. What I'm saying is, ignore the bible's teaching on moral issues, be dishonest, kill, covet and commit adultery, hurt and injure the humanity of others and that will come back on you ten-fold. Disease, lawsuits, violent revenge ... we could go on and on. Am I being morally fundamentalist? Its up to you. Regard and you will be regarded. What goes around comes around. But in your moral life, position yourself for blessing, and you will be blessed, morally.

In our financial lives. Now everyone loves when they hear the clergy talk about money. We don't like anyone messing with our money — it brings out a real passion in us. Don't mess with my money ... it too close to my heart. When we see what God describes as how we are to treat the financial blessings he sends us, when we listen to the biblical teaching about how much of what we have belongs to him, and when we take that to heart and do what God says, something happens. We position ourselves for blessing. I need you to listen very carefully to this: One tenth, ten percent, a tithe of what we have, God says belongs to him. Its not ours, we only think its ours. God doesn't say to return everything you have to him. God doesn't say return so much that you won't be able to eat, buy the things you need to survive or have a good time. God says, ten percent belongs to him. If you have a dollar ... that's ten cents. If you have $10,000, that's a thousand.

So often in the church we make the mistake of looking at our bleak financial situation, by no means a blessing, and by dividing what we think we need by the number of people who participate through offering, we determine how much everyone should be putting in their envelopes. Wrong! That isn't even the beginning. The biblical principle is percentage based. That's why if you look on the back page of your bulletin, there's a chart there which will help you to take a step toward positioning yourself for financial blessing. Its not until you have taken steps towards getting your personal financial priorities in order and move towards what God decrees is just and fair, that you will ever really get ahead financially. For us to receive blessing, its absolutely crucial that we follow what God says is right and true. It not magic. If you give a tithe to the church, you have your priorities straight — you are doing what God demands of you. Your other finances will be just as well planned. They'll have to be. I don't know of one tither I've ever talked to who says that tithing has not brought them blessing. They have postioned themselves for blessing, and they have been blessed, financially.

I'm crazy aren't I? But if you see that the principle works in our physical lives, our spiritual lives, or moral lives, why is our financial life different? Jesus said the poor, the hungry and those who mourn are blessed! Doesn't make sense does it? Paul says in the epistle that to the world, the wisdom of the gospel, the Cross, is foolishness to those who are perishing. Are you perishing? Is this Word from God foolishness? Have you positioned yourself for blessing? Don't knock it until you've tried it. Its guaranteed! How many things these days come with a guarantee signed by God. Maybe our positioning in one area will bring blessing in another. That often happens. Position yourself for blessing, and you will be blessed.

Spiritual blessing, physical blessing, moral blessing, financial blessing. When we don't bless God, by seeing clearly that everything we have in all those areas is a tremendous gift and then act accordingly by following his Word, he doesn't bless us. It shouldn't surprise us but it does. Blessing is not magic ... its not chance ... its not a throw of the dice or a spin of the wheel. If there's an area of your life in which you are not being blessed every day, could it be that you haven't positioned yourself for blessing? It often that simple.

In the collect today we prayed that God might transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of his grace. God wants to be gracious to us. God wants to bless us. Do you desire his blessing? Position yourself for blessing, and you will be blessed.riches of your grace, and in the renewal of our lives make known your glory, in the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Blessing. No other word in Bible language give us more problem. What is a blessing? What does it mean to be blessed? How do we receive a blessing? Its so simple, I'm often amazed that most of us don't get it. It comes down to one simple, very biblical principle: "Position yourself for blessing, and you will be blessed."

What is a blessing? Jesus lists for us, in his Sermon on the Mount, those who are blessed. The poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the hungry, the merciful. All of these, Jesus says are blessed.

A little research will quickly reveal that this whole idea of blessing has its roots in the ancient beginnings of our tradition — Judaism. The concept of blessing appears first in the pages of the Old Testament. There, blessing is closely linked with thanksgiving. Blessing was received when someone had something worthy of giving thanks. Gifts were "blessed" as a way of giving thanks for them. God was blessed because he was to be appreciated and worthy of thanks. People became a blessing to others when they provided some material or spiritual graces worthy of thanks. To be blessed means that something to be thankful for has been received. To be blessed means to be in a happy, healthy state of body, mind and spirit. A blessing is desirable, something we all should want and need. Blessing is favourable, to our credit, a hope for wholeness, and an expression of thanks.

So we bless food before a meal as a way of giving thanks. We bless bread and wine in an act of great thanksgiving for all our gifts and favours at the eucharist (the Greek word for thanksgiving). We bless gifts we have received, thanking God for generosity shown. Priests bless congregations as a show of desiring and hoping for only the best gifts for them.

What blessing is not may be even more important. Blessing is not a magical dust which protects us from danger. Blessing is not a spooky way to assure that something or someone is always remains with good intentions. Blessing is not something that is bestowed on us by chance or in a random way. You don't have to wait for your number to be drawn by God to receive his blessing. You can be blessed now. You will be blessed now if you position yourself for blessing. Blessing is, for the most part, thanksgiving; thanksgiving for the peace and happiness that comes as a gift from a generous and gracious God.

How do we receive a blessing? Its fairly simple. "Position yourself for blessing, and you will be blessed. That's so important, I want you to repeat it with me. With me, say "Position yourself for blessing, and you will be blessed." Its not that you need to wait for God to decide to bless you. God wants to bless you now. God will bless you now, if you position yourself for blessing.

What does that mean? It means that when we are not the recipients of blessing, its not because our card wasn't drawn today ... its not always, but far too often its our own fault. Many of us are not blessed because we haven't positioned ourselves for blessing. On the other hand, I'm not sure I know of one example of someone who has made an effort to position themselves in that way who reports that they have not been blessed. "Position yourself for blessing, and you will be blessed." Not "maybe" you'll be blessed. Not, you'll be blessed if God happens to feel like it today. "Position yourself for blessing and you WILL be blessed."

Let me try to illustrate what I mean. In your spiritual life, positioning yourself for blessing is making time for prayer; making an effort to read, study and ingest God's Word not just on Sunday's but everyday; making time for God; being in church. One person once said to me they'd never received a spiritual blessing. When I inquired how much time they spent in prayer or bible reading, and how often they went to church, they said they don't do any of those things. Waste of time. That person was not willing to position themselves for spiritual blessing. Guess what? They weren't blessed. "Position yourself for blessing, and you will be blessed."

In our physical lives. Want to be in a situation where there are no blessings of health? Don't exercise. Drink two pots of coffee everyday. Eat all the fat and sugar you can get your hands on. Go on out and buy a package of cigarettes and start faithfully smoking at least a pack everyday. Within twenty years, maybe less, you'll be enjoying poor health. Its unlikely that any miracle of God or medicine will be able to erase the effects on your body. That's a perfect example of how not to position yourself for blessing. Want the blessing of good health? Position yourself for blessing and you will be blessed, physically.

In our moral lives. Don't uphold honesty as important. Cheat, lie and steal. Disregard the bible's teaching about commitment in relationships. Don't listen to how the bible speaks of the importance of marriage. I'm not passing judgement on anyone whose marriage didn't make it. I'm only pointing out that a broken marriage is not a blessing to anyone. Its painful, it hurts, its devastating. What I'm saying is, ignore the bible's teaching on moral issues, be dishonest, kill, covet and commit adultery, hurt and injure the humanity of others and that will come back on you ten-fold. Disease, lawsuits, violent revenge ... we could go on and on. Am I being morally fundamentalist? Its up to you. Regard and you will be regarded. What goes around comes around. But in your moral life, position yourself for blessing, and you will be blessed, morally.

In our financial lives. Now everyone loves when they hear the clergy talk about money. We don't like anyone messing with our money — it brings out a real passion in us. Don't mess with my money ... it too close to my heart. When we see what God describes as how we are to treat the financial blessings he sends us, when we listen to the biblical teaching about how much of what we have belongs to him, and when we take that to heart and do what God says, something happens. We position ourselves for blessing. I need you to listen very carefully to this: One tenth, ten percent, a tithe of what we have, God says belongs to him. Its not ours, we only think its ours. God doesn't say to return everything you have to him. God doesn't say return so much that you won't be able to eat, buy the things you need to survive or have a good time. God says, ten percent belongs to him. If you have a dollar ... that's ten cents. If you have $10,000, that's a thousand.

So often in the church we make the mistake of looking at our bleak financial situation, by no means a blessing, and by dividing what we think we need by the number of people who participate through offering, we determine how much everyone should be putting in their envelopes. Wrong! That isn't even the beginning. The biblical principle is percentage based. That's why if you look on the back page of your bulletin, there's a chart there which will help you to take a step toward positioning yourself for financial blessing. Its not until you have taken steps towards getting your personal financial priorities in order and move towards what God decrees is just and fair, that you will ever really get ahead financially. For us to receive blessing, its absolutely crucial that we follow what God says is right and true. It not magic. If you give a tithe to the church, you have your priorities straight — you are doing what God demands of you. Your other finances will be just as well planned. They'll have to be. I don't know of one tither I've ever talked to who says that tithing has not brought them blessing. They have postioned themselves for blessing, and they have been blessed, financially.

I'm crazy aren't I? But if you see that the principle works in our physical lives, our spiritual lives, or moral lives, why is our financial life different? Jesus said the poor, the hungry and those who mourn are blessed! Doesn't make sense does it? Paul says in the epistle that to the world, the wisdom of the gospel, the Cross, is foolishness to those who are perishing. Are you perishing? Is this Word from God foolishness? Have you positioned yourself for blessing? Don't knock it until you've tried it. Its guaranteed! How many things these days come with a guarantee signed by God. Maybe our positioning in one area will bring blessing in another. That often happens. Position yourself for blessing, and you will be blessed.

Spiritual blessing, physical blessing, moral blessing, financial blessing. When we don't bless God, by seeing clearly that everything we have in all those areas is a tremendous gift and then act accordingly by following his Word, he doesn't bless us. It shouldn't surprise us but it does. Blessing is not magic ... its not chance ... its not a throw of the dice or a spin of the wheel. If there's an area of your life in which you are not being blessed every day, could it be that you haven't positioned yourself for blessing? It often that simple.

In the collect today we prayed that God might transform the poverty of our nature by the riches of his grace. God wants to be gracious to us. God wants to bless us. Do you desire his blessing? Position yourself for blessing, and you will be blessed.


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Frank Schaefer, for JavaCasa Resources and the Desperate Preacher's Site, 1999