Many of you are
familiar with the phrase, "attitude of gratitude," meaning we
ought to be thankful for what we have and give thanks to God
who is the great provider.
Well today I want to look at this phrase from a slightly
different perspective, specifically, having an attitude of
beatitude, or in other words having an attitude of blessing.
All to often we focus on the negative things of life rather
then the blessings. Think about it, when we pray what do we
usually highlight in our prayers? For most folks it's our
concerns. Abraham Lincoln once said, "We'd all be much happier
if we magnified our blessings rather than our
disappointments." And I agree.
Last week Bill spoke about the dash in your life, that time
between your birth and death. What an important time. Wouldn't
we spend those days much happier if we focused on our many
blessings rather than our disappointments? Wouldn't we be
happier if we focused our attention on blessing others rather
than how we can be blessed ourselves? As many of you know
first hand many of our blessings are experienced through the
act of blessing others, a fact that shouldn't be arbitrarily
One of the problems we have as a society today is that we've
forgotten the power, and the art of blessing. The election of
Israel began with God's promise to bless Abraham and his
descendants making them a blessing to all the people of the
earth. (Gen. 12:1-3) It's no wonder then, that the words
preserved on the oldest scrap of scripture we possess are the
familiar words of the blessing of Aaron in Numbers 6, which
begins: "The Lord bless you and keep you…"
The blessing of Aaron was also recently found on a piece of
silver in a tomb just south of Jerusalem that dates back to
600 BCE. Therefore, we can assert the biblical message is not
only that God redeems us, but that God blesses us as well.
In Jesus' sermon on the plain, as it's referred to in the
Gospel of Luke, or Sermon on the Mount as it's referred to in
The Gospel of Matthew, there's a list of pronouncements given
to confer an end-time blessing upon all people regardless of
who they are and what they do. The blessing assures those who
follow Christ the vindication and reward that eventually comes
to all who believe. In other words, the blessing of eternal
life is there for all who believe in Jesus Christ regardless
of their socioeconomic situation, or other difficulties being
experienced now in this life. Blessed are you who are poor,
meaning wealth does not determine our place in God's kingdom.
Blessed are you who hunger now, meaning hungering for
righteousness and yearning for final salvation. Blessed are
you who weep, meaning in the end those who weep will have the
final laugh so to speak, as salvation is granted to them for
their faithfulness, and not for what they own.
Blessed are you when men hate you, meaning those who suffer or
are persecuted because they follow Jesus will still be
blessed. In the early church those who were Christian were
often persecuted and mistreated. The same can be said today of
many in different parts of the world.
The beatitudes are not meant to make people feel bad if
they're not poor or persecuted, rather the beatitudes make it
clear that the kingdom will mean redemption for the poor and
the oppressed, not just those who are wealthy and have
prominent positions. Although oppressed and mistreated now,
all will enjoy God's blessings in the kingdom. All believers
will be released from degradation in its many forms.
The beatitudes also describe what it means to be Christ's
followers; they're standards of conduct; they contrast kingdom
values with worldly values, illustrating what Christ's
followers can expect from the world and what God will give
them. The beatitudes contrast fake piety with true humility;
and finally they show how Old Testament expectations are
fulfilled in God's kingdom.
The beatitudes assure us that no matter what takes place in
our lives, all will be well in the end if we place our faith
in Christ. And because of this knowledge, this blessing, we
can live with hope and assurance of a wonderful life in
Ok, so we know what the end blessing looks like if we believe
and persevere, but how can we live a life of blessing now,
when we're bombarded with the ills of this world? Where can we
turn and get practical advice on how we should live? What
practical wisdom can we employ, which will lead to the fruit
of blessing? How can we help shape our children and
grandchildren into becoming heirs of God's blessing?
Well, one answer to these questions is refer to the Bible, but
if you're like me you want some golden nugget that you can
refer to quickly, sound wisdom to fend off temptation and
evil. So for some practical wisdom I refer us all to the book
of Exodus and the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments tell
us in a clear and concise manner the way God wants us to live.
Here are the Ten Commandments in more modern language. 1. I am
your God, have no other God but me 2. Worship no idols bought
or made (and yes this include cars, tractors, and houses) 3.
Don't use the name of God in curses or silly banter 4. Observe
a day of rest and dedicate it to God 5. Give your father and
mother your utmost respect 6. Do not commit murder 7. Do not
commit adultery 8. Do not steal 9. Do not lie 10. Do not lust
after your neighbors, or their possessions Pretty clear aren't
And notice the breakdown of the commandments. The first four
commandments speak of a vertical relationship, our
relationship with God. The second six commandments speak of a
horizontal relationship, our relationship with one another.
And it's not uncommon to see the commandments displayed this
way on tablets that you see in stain glass windows or other
types of displays. (As a matter of fact if you look at the
stain glass window in the back room you see the commandments
displayed this way, 4 on one tablet 6 on the other)
We are all also aware that it's not uncommon for the Ten
Commandments to come under fire from time to time. I'm sure
you remember during this past year there were several cases
involving the Ten Commandments and their public display. In
Alabama the Ten Commandments in the Courthouse were eventually
removed because of the argument addressing the public display
of the Ten Commandments as a violation of separation of Church
and State laws. Here in Frederick County we went through a
similar situation with the Ten Commandments being displayed on
public property. Now I'm not hear today to debate for or
against these issues, I'll save that for another time, but I
am here today to say the issue that does have eternal
significance for us is not whether the Ten Commandments are
etched in stone and displayed, it's are the Ten Commandments
etched on our hearts, and do we follow them.
I for one feel we ought to display the Ten Commandments to
remind people of how to live, but more importantly I believe
we should live with the Ten Commandments firmly rooted in our
souls showing others how God's children ought to live, bearing
witness to their goodness and blessings on our lives. To me
this is a more effective way of displaying the commandments.
And the good news is we can witness to this truth whether
we're on public property or not. No one can tell us to stop
acting like a follower of Christ. No one can tell us to stop
following the commandments. And no one can tell us to stop
being a blessing to others.
The Ten Commandments have stood the test of time, not because
of their display, but because people have embraced them and
lived according to them. I commend each of us to do the same.
Lets also be clear that the Ten Commandments, as given to by
God to Moses on Mt. Sinai, are not multiple choice, and their
not guidelines open to interpretation. We are commanded by God
to follow each and every one of them, not because God wants to
control us, but rather because God wants to keep us safe.
God gave Moses the Ten Commandments not just to restore order
to what had become a corrupt people, but to prepare them for
the journey ahead. And it's out of our faith and desire to
love and please God that we ought to live our lives in
accordance with the rule of God.
The same can be said of the beatitudes, Jesus shared this
divine wisdom to his followers to prepare them for the coming
kingdom; he was preparing them for the journey they were
embarking on. He was teaching them how God expected them to
act towards others.
Now I can look at each commandment and I can give real
examples from my sphere of experience of how people have
gotten themselves into trouble by not following them. And I
dare say we all probably can. But lets also be honest enough
to admit that we all have fallen short of following the
commandments to the letter ourselves. So lets not be quick to
I know of no one who has been blessed by killing someone. I
know of no one who has been blessed by committing adultery or
wanting something that's not theirs. I know of no one who has
been blessed by worshipping a car, tractor, or house. And I
know of no one who has been blessed by being disrespectful to
his or her parents or anyone else for that matter.
Yes, I know sometimes it seems as though some people who
violate every commandment continue to get what they want, and
those who strive faithfully to live a righteous life seem to
get more pain then is fair, but just because you get
everything you want doesn't mean you're really blessed, and
just because someone seems to be in pain and going through
tragedy doesn't mean they aren't blessed.
Blessing is a spiritual issue not a material one, so I caution
you about drawing conclusions about people based on what they
seem to get or not get. This is a very important point, and I
don't want us to blow by it too quickly. Blessings come in
different forms: health, endurance during tough times,
courage, peace, contentment, patience, love, and so on.
I know many people who seem to have it all, materially
speaking, yet when I've spoken with some of them I begin to
see in their heart that they really have little or in some
cases nothing at all. In reality they're hurting, and instead
of seeking God for fulfillment they've turned to the local
store, the bottle, the pill, or false teachings seeking relief
from they're spiritual pain. And conversely I have spoken to
people who are clearly in material need, but really desire
little, and when you ask them about how things are going they
respond, "I am very blessed."
Christians ought to live with an attitude of beatitude,
meaning living with an understanding of God's grace,
acknowledging just where our blessings come from, and loving
God so much that we want to live according to his
Yes, it's more comfortable to not take a firm stand and it's
more comfortable to simply blend in with the crowd. But if
we'll just focus our energy on the task of living a life of
blessing, both in giving and receiving, many of the other
issues we run into every day of our lives will begin to take
care of themselves. Follow God's teachings and allow God's
word to shape and form you.
But lets also be clear on one point, I'm not suggesting we
should be spectators, or we shouldn't be bold in proclaiming
our Christian positions with respect to the beatitudes and
commandments, we should. I am saying don't worry about other
people and what they have or how they feel about God's way;
pray for them, live as God wants you to live and let God deal
with them, because only God can change hearts. But be ready,
God may call upon us to be the means by which their hearts are
Living a life of blessing is always rewarding, because our
vision becomes clear. We know from whom all blessings flow,
and we know where we're headed. Unfortunately our world has
little tolerance for saints who set their sights on values and
principles the world doesn't share. But the good news is,
those who persevere and participate in God's work, and follow
his commandments will experience blessings stacked upon
My friends, I pray we all stay faithful, experience the
fullness of God's blessings, and share the riches of the
knowledge of God and his grace with all people! Thanks be to
Read other messages by Pastor Wade