Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
Genesis 12:1-2 ESV
My friend, Todd Agnew, wrote a short devotional several years ago that has given me a different perspective on blessings from God.
“God chose Abram to start the nation of Israel. He sent him away from his family, away from all that he knew. And he made this promise: ‘And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.’
“‘I will bless you.’ Future tense.
“We have focused so much on being blessed. We have actually slipped into the same misunderstanding that the nation of Israel did. They focused so much on being the blessed ones that they forgot God had promised to bless them for a purpose. That beautiful conjunction–“SO THAT.” It’s found often in the Bible. I first noticed it doing a study of Jeremiah. It’s all through that book.
“God is continually stating his purpose. I did this SO THAT this would happen. And that’s what he does here. His end purpose is not blessing us. That is a means to an end. He says ‘I will bless you SO THAT you will be a blessing.’
“The same is true for us today. He still has bigger plans for us than just blessing us. I believe he still wants to do that as well, but he wants to bless us SO THAT we will be a blessing. He wants to show us grace SO THAT we will show grace to others.
“He wants to forgive us SO THAT we will forgive others. He wants to love us SO THAT we will love others. And by doing these things, we will bring him glory. Our lives have a purpose. God’s plan for us did not end at our salvation. He wants to bless us So THAT we will be a blessing.”
Think back over the blessings God has given you during your lifetime. Take the time to make a list of the ones so far this year.
Were you able to work and provide for your family? What is the “SO THAT” purpose of this blessing? Could it be that you will be able to bless someone else from your abundance who is in need of help?
Have you enjoyed good health? Perhaps that blessing is SO THAT you can lend assistance to those who have chronic health issues with limited or no mobility, or are confined at home without the ability to care for themselves.
Do you have a reliable vehicle or two to drive? Maybe your “So THAT” is to provide transportation to someone who needs a ride to a doctor’s appointment, to the grocery store, or to church.
What is it that you do best–some gift or talent God has blessed you with? Could your “SO THAT” be sharing your expertise with someone who needs help in that area, but who does not have funds to hire you? (Examples: car mechanic, barber/hair stylist, lawyer, academic tutor, home organizer, seamstress, lawn care, website designer, musician, chef, counselor, writer, etc.)
Has God blessed you with children and a loving family? Is it possible your “SO THAT” is to reach out to adopt a child who needs a family, or help support children in crisis situations through organizations that provide for their daily needs?
I wonder how many of us have missed the real blessing God intended because we stopped short of “SO THAT.”
I also wonder how many “SO THATs” I’ve missed in my lifetime.
If we all would apply this “SO THAT” principle to our blessings, just think about the amazing impact it would have on those around us. It would change our homes, churches, neighborhoods, and world.
I witnessed this chain effect of blessing others at a fast food restaurant drive-thru recently. When I pulled up to the window to pay for my order, the person in front of me had paid for my meal. But what was even more impressive, when the very first person decided to pay for the person behind them several minutes before I got there, it started a chain reaction that kept going from person to person down the line. I don’t know how long it took before someone broke the chain, but it certainly made an impact on the girl at the drive-thru window as she repeatedly told each customer, “Your meal was paid for by the person ahead of you.”
Imagine what would happen if every time you bought yourself a bouquet of flowers, a new book, a pizza, tickets to a concert or movie, you decided to bless someone else with the same thing that brought you joy?
Just as a reminder, your “SO THAT” blessings to others are not “SO THAT” you will get anything in return. It is not a ploy to get people to like you or to make you look better, or score points with God; it is a no-strings-attached love that has flowed from the heart of God through you to someone else.
Maybe you’re thinking it’s a good idea, but not something you could do all the time. What about setting a goal for once a week, or once a month? Once you discover the joy of being a blessing, it will transform your life.
“God put a million, million doors in the world for his love to walk through. One of those doors is you.” (Jason Gray)
AS YOU PRAY:
Say, “I love you, Lord.”
* Thank God for his blessings to you today, and ask him to show you his purpose in the blessing.
* Ask God to bring someone to mind to bless this week, and show you a specific way to do it.
Copyright (c) 2017 Brenda Branson