When I woke up this morning my Bible was open to the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. I immediately felt compelled to look up the word ‘blessed’ in Stong’s Concordance and was amazed by what I found.
Strong’s says the word ‘blessed’ comes from the Greek word makários (from mak-, “become long, large”) – properly, when God extends His benefits (the advantages He confers); blessed.
It describes a believer as one being in an enviable (“fortunate”) position from receiving God’s provisions (favor) – which (literally) extend His grace (benefits).
This happens with receiving (obeying) the Lord’s inbirthings of faith. Hence, faith (4102 /pístis) and 3107 (makários) are closely associated (Romans 4:5-7,14:22,23; Revelation 14:12,13).
In layman’s terms, if you are poor in spirit, in mourning, gentle, hungry and thirsty for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, a peacemaker, persecuted for the sake of righteousness, or if people cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely because you follow Jesus, you are favored by God to the point that you are to be envied, for He has counted you as faithful and obedient and has extended His favor to you.
I have always thought to be blessed was to be fortunate in things such as good health, comfort, friends, sufficient funds, etc. My wife and I have had these things and more for some time now, but there have been events that have left us in a fragile position. We are still able to get by, but recently we’ve been concerned about helping others.
After reading the biblical meaning of the word ‘blessed’ I recalled times in the past when we were below the poverty level and we still helped people. And I remembered the time I had no friends, for all had turned on me because they didn’t understand what God was doing with me. They thought I had lost my way.
During this time I worked for a realty company and the boss would try to make me promise I wouldn’t give any money away before he would hand me my paycheck. I never made that promise. I always said the same thing, “ I’m a Christian and that ’s what Christians do.” It thrills me now to remember those days. We had next to nothing and yet God allowed us to help others in worse conditions than we were in.
I also recalled that during these same years, God was leading me through a trial that taught me to trust in Him and not people. I had one Christian friend who stuck with me through most of God’s dealings with me. However, he spoke about me with a member of the hierarchy of the church organization we were affiliated with and suddenly would not communicate with me anymore. We lived several states apart and spoke on the phone often. All of a sudden our calls stopped. To this day, he won’t talk to me.
I was riddled with PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder which made everything worse than it would have normally been. I begged God for a friend and He miraculously sent me several. You can read about them at https://jondavidbanks.com/2018/03/28/birds-frogs-and-butterflies/. These new friends kept me company for nearly three years.
According to the biblical meaning of the word ‘blessed’ even though I was in a world of hurt, I was blessed. And though I was counted as unworthy by my brothers and sisters, I was blessed. During that time the man next door would urinate on my wife’s plants after dark. Another neighbor, one we had helped with food, spread gross lies about me through the neighborhood. I was ignored and treated like a leper. But praise be to God, I was blessed.
These things happened during a period when God was still in the process of separating me to Himself. I was set apart at birth (Jesus was present when I was born (the nurse saw Him in the delivery room during my birth and in the room my mother and I were put in). Jesus was also present when I was born again into the kingdom of God.
I also learned this morning that I was blessed in my childhood. I grew up in an abusive situation and left home when I turned sixteen. I realized today I was blessed in the home in which I was abused. These blessings have prepared me to be understanding and tolerant of people who are belligerent and hateful. I have compassion for the broken that is so deep it is hard to bear at times.
Sometimes I walk into a room and burdens hit me like a ton of bricks, and I spend hours praying for people I hardly know. This is the kingdom of God. This is loving one another. This is fulfilling the law of Christ — “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ,” Galatians 6:2. Oh, how fortunate we are to have been called to partake of the sufferings of Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ, 2 Corinthians 1:1-5.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you, 1 Peter 4:12-14.
To the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed. Hallelujah!
Please consider this also, just as faith without works is dead, so also works without love are dead; and just as faith moves mountains, love moves people. Therefore, all we do should be done in love, 1 Corinthians 16:14.
Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant
P.S. I can only speak of things I’ve seen and heard, hence, my speaking of my own experiences. They are all I know to be certain.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org