Several years ago I came to the end of what I knew to do to save our family’s financial disaster. I was working three jobs (and for a few months added a fourth job), my husband was working hard at his own business and yet we were still coming up short – robbing Peter to pay Paul. And I was exhausted — emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually. Because of all that I was doing, I stopped going to church in order to make more sales, sign up more sellers underneath me. While I didn’t consciously understand it at the time, I put money in the place of God. I thought I was just trying to keep afloat. It was time to reboot and begin anew. It’s been quite a ride these last few years, but we are in a different place (literally and figuratively).
What has changed? I have. I have one job, we are living within our means and saving for the future, and I am giving of my time and my money to the Lord’s work. I have been listening to a series “Detours” from Dr. Tony Evans, and specifically this morning I was listening to Detours to Provision. This series delves into the story of Joseph, and how him being sold into slavery and imprisoned groomed him for his God-given destiny to save many people from starvation. And after years of his detour, he was put in charge over all the land in Egypt by Pharoah. What’s important to note is that Joseph wasn’t blessed because he deserved the blessing and God wanted him to enjoy his blessing. He was blessed so that he could use his blessing to do God’s work.
Ask any committed believer in Jesus Christ, if he or she wants to enjoy God’s blessing. You’ll hear the same answer: “Of course!” Why? Because God’s blessing is the ultimate good that we as disciples should long for. We want God to bless our homes. We want good health, job security, and fellowship and relevant instruction at church. But most of all, we want the blessing of God Himself—His presence, His forgiveness, His power over sin, and His guidance. Of course we want God’s blessing!
But why? Why do we want these things? Most of us want God to bless us because we want what’s best for us, and God knows what’s best. And that’s a good reason. It’s good to want to enjoy all that God has in store for us. But if that’s as far as our thinking goes—for God to bless us so we can have fulfilling lives—we short-circuit His plan. Because He wants His blessing to extend much further than simply our enjoying it. He wants us to take that blessing to another level, for our lives to spin outward to affect the entire world.
How do we extend God’s blessing? The Psalm 67 itself gives some clues for using God’s blessings to extend His reach. We can tell others about the ways God rescues us in desperate times (vv. 1–2). We can seek opportunities to display God’s just rule and guidance (vv. 3–4). And we can view our blessings—our relationships, our vacation time, even our trials—as ways to extend God’s reach. For the psalmist living in an agrarian society, “harvest” was the obvious indication of God’s blessing. And while most people in North America buy their corn from the store rather than plucking it from the field, God has given us a “harvest” too. We can spread His renown as we seek to use every blessing we’ve received to bless others so that God’s name is praised (vv. 6–7).
God blesses us so we can use our blessings as a means for the peoples of the world to bless Him. This truth will radically change the way we respond to all we have received from Him. We will reorder our priorities to turn our blessings outward, using every good and perfect gift as a catalyst to lead the nations to join us as we bow in worship before our God. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created.” (James 1:17-18)