MACAU. For the past week I have been on a small island, that looks and feels like a large casino. Every Nation Macau Church hosted our annual Asia Leadership Team meeting and a day later our China Discipleship Convergence. I wish I could blog about the reports I heard from Every Nation leaders in China, Pakistan, Laos, Tibet, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia, but I can’t because of security concerns.
Here’s my Every Nation Asia summary, in the words of Apostle Paul, “The Gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.” (Colossians 1:6)
While the spread of the Gospel brings great joy to my heart, there is also a deep sadness as I watch thousands and thousands march into the casinos to throw away their money and their future. I have observed a strange mix of greed and hope in the eyes of those coming into the glittery casinos, and a zombie-like hopelessness in the eyes of those shuffling towards the exit doors.
Luck is the operative word around here. Some, a very few, have good luck. Most have very bad luck.
While watching this tragedy play out before me, I read an interesting story about blessing this morning. Many people see blessing as the religious version of luck, but the two concepts have nothing in common. Luck is something that randomly happens to one and not to another. Blessings are often the direct results of our decisions and actions.
It is common for religious people to have wrong ideas about the blessing of God. Consider Luke 11. Jesus just taught his disciples how to pray the “Our Father.” Next He heals a mute boy by casting out a demon. Then He teaches the crowd. Typical day in the life of Jesus.
Watch what happens next, and notice the response of a random woman in the crowd.
As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” Luke 11:27 ESV
Like many people today, most people in Jesus’ day wrongly believed that a person was blessed or not blessed solely based on who their parents were. A person’s family background determined ethnicity and nationality. That was true then, and now. But ethnicity and nationality do not determine divine blessing.
In His response to the woman in the crowd, Jesus redefined what it means to be blessed and corrected a false belief about the source of the blessing.
“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28 ESV
How then is one “blessed” according to Jesus? In this passage in Luke, Jesus clearly ties the blessing of God to hearing and living God’s Word.
Never allow your family background, your ethnicity, or your nationality determine your blessing. Hear, read, obey, and live God’s word and you will find the true source of the blessing of God.