Do you consider yourself to be a "lucky" person? How about a "blessed" person?
In 2000, recording artist Rachel Lampa released a song that you may remember:
“I am blessed / I am blessed / From when I rise up in the morning / 'Till I lay my head to rest.”
Are you blessed? Perhaps more importantly, what exactly does that mean? What sort of “proof” does that conjure up in your mind? Do you think of your family? Your job? Your great hair or flawless tan?
It’s interesting when we look at Matthew 5:1-12, some of Jesus’ remarks about the "blessed" are so counter-intuitive: Poor in spirit; mournful; persecuted; insulted. It's doubtful that very many of us would call ourselves "blessed" in these contexts.
There’s even more shocking stuff tucked away in these so-called “beatitudes” of the blessed. The Greek word is makarios, which means “fortunate, well off, happy.” It isn't a particularly religious word at all (especially when compared to eulogia). It describes someone who is in an enviable or "fortunate" position. It corresponds to the Hebrew asar and connotes someone whose paths are straight. In other words, no matter what, in the end, everything always seems to work out for this guy or gal. In the immortal proclamation of Napoleon Dynamite: “Lu-cky-y-y!”
Strange, right? Can you even imagine hearing these words: “Dude! Mr. Poor in spirit. You are lu-cky-y-y!” or “Whoa! Crying man. You are so-o-o lucky!” Weird. But keep in mind—not lucky as in some random chance of the cosmos or the result of owning a rabbit’s foot, but lucky as in being in the right place at the right time. How so? Because the Kingdom of heaven is near! Your circumstances are just right for the intervening grace of God. You will be comforted. You will inherit the earth. You will be satisfied. You will be shown mercy. You will see God. You will be called the children of God. If grace were a seed, your circumstances are the exact kind of soil that the blessings of God thrive in. “Lu-cky-y-y!”
Your circumstances may not make you feel very “lucky” or blessed, but you are, because you are a disciple of Christ, and each step of faith and obedience puts you in the right place the right time for God’s guidance and care. Lu-cky-y-y!
- Have you ever thought about the beatitudes in this way? What do you like about it? What do you dislike?
- Is this the kind of message that would appeal more to the person who seems to have been “born with a silver spoon in her mouth,” or to the person who is struggling?
- Given the historical context, Jesus’ audience was most likely filled with those who were struggling—the poor, the lonely, the hurting. How do you think they responded to his message?
The beatitudes are the most well-known “blessed” verses, but there are plenty of others. If you really want to learn the secret to getting "lucky"—to being in the right place at the right time to experience God's blessings—take a look at these verses (opens a PDF via Google Drive)!