March 15, 2011

sent to be a blessing

Jesus, necessarily it seems, wraps up a lot of Old Testament archetypes into himself. He is, as we heard from Paul last week, the new Adam. He is, as we know from elsewhere in scripture, the new Moses. This week, in his encounter with Nicodemus it seems that Jesus is highlighted as the new Abraham.

I say this with obvious contextual help from the Old Testament lesson for Sunday, Genesis 12:1-4a, in which Abraham is sent by God to an unknown land. He is blessed "so that [he] will be a blessing."

Abraham was sent to the land of Canaan in order to be a blessing to the nations.
Jesus was sent to earth so that he might be a blessing to God's creation.

Where have you been sent? How have you been blessed? What sort of blessing are you called to be for another?

The mistake that we very often make is assuming that God's outpouring of blessing is for us. "God has blessed me with" good health, wealth, a great family, an 18 year-old bottle of scotch, whatever. The reality is that our blessings are never really meant for us alone. Sure, we benefit from them and are encouraged to enjoy them, but our blessings are first and foremost to be shared as a blessing for others.

My relative wealth helps the local economy, lifts up the work of the Church, and modestly impacts a school in the slums of Nairobi. My daughter brings joy to her grandparents as well as to the congregation of St. Paul's on Sunday mornings. My good health allows me to serve my family, friends, neighbors and community. My 18 year-old scotch... well it is empty, so it can't bless me anymore, but I'm certain I must have shared a finger or two with someone.

Our blessings must not exist in a vacuum. We are called to share them all because they are not ours to begin with. All things come for thee O God, and of thine own have we given thee. Most days, I believe this ancient truth, and today I vow to share my blessings with the world around me. How are you sent to be a blessing?

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