We Are Blessed so as to Be a Blessing
Psalm 67 begins with a request for God’s goodness and blessing to be showered upon us: “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us….” But the psalm does not end simply with a request for God to be good to us (or to me). The psalm goes on to express the hope that God’s blessings toward us would result in others being drawn to God: “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the people praise you.
Colin D. Smith points out, “This psalm reminds us that God doesn’t just bless us for our own good. His face doesn’t shine upon or among us simply to make us feel better, or so we can know that God is pleased with us. As God’s people, we are the means by which He demonstrates His love and power on the earth.”
A basic principle of the Bible is that God blesses us not so that we can selfishly cling to God’s blessings for ourselves but so that we can be a blessing to others.
Harry Emerson Fosdick offers an analogy that conveys this truth: “The Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea are made of the same water. It flows down, clear and cool, from the heights of Herman and the roots of the cedars of Lebanon. The Sea of Galilee makes beauty of it, for the Sea of Galilee has an outlet. It gets to give. It gathers in its riches that it may pour them out again to fertilize the Jordan plain. But the Dead Sea, with the same water, makes horror. For the Dead Sea has no outlet. It gets to keep.”
In The Peter Principle, Stan Toler shares an example: “I was a church planter at one time and felt impressed by the Lord to send $50 to some missionaries. When I shared with my wife what had been laid on my heart, we took a look at our checkbook and found $54 in our balance. Not much room for error there. She said, ‘Honey, I wasn’t raised quite like you, but I trust you and have faith in your stewardship commitments. Let’s do it.’ So I wrote the check and sent it to the Carters in Arizona, who were ministering to Native Americans in a small reservation village. Even though I knew it had been the right thing to do, I did begin to wonder how we were going to manage.
“The next day I went to the post office, and, amazed, I picked up a letter from a student at Asbury Theological Seminary who had been one of my roommates at college. The letter read, ‘I just had you and Linda on my heart and felt impressed to write you. I’m enclosing a check for you, knowing you will probably put it in the offering plate next Sunday, but it is not for your church it is for you.’ Fifty bucks!
“When the check we sent arrived in Arizona, Doug Carter called immediately. ‘Stan, your check just arrived. What timing! We had an appointment with the doctor for our daughter, Angie, but we had no money to pay the bill. I was just about to make the dreaded phone call to tell the doctor, but I paused to look at the mail first, and there it was. The Lord was right on schedule, wasn’t he?’
“How could God touch a poor church planter on the shoulder and say, ‘Send $50 to missionaries in Arizona,’ even though he knew the church planter needed it, and at the same time touch a student at Asbury Theological Seminary on the shoulder and say to him, ‘Send $50 to the Tolers’? A cynical person might ask, ‘Why didn’t God just impress the Asbury student to send his $50 directly to the missionaries in Arizona?’ To the first question I say, that’s how God works. To the second I suggest that God wanted to pour out his blessings on three families instead of two.”
Keep this in mind always: God blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others.