Upside-Down Blessings

David Bast

READ : Matthew 5:10-12

Do you know what an oxymoron is? That’s a phrase whose two words seem to contradict each other, like the sign I once saw asking for “Clean dirt.” Or how about this one, straight from the Beatitudes: “blessed persecution”?

Jesus’ ideas about what constitutes blessing are the exact opposite of what most people think. According to humanity’s collective wisdom, the happiest place is at the top, not the bottom. The good life means having no trouble or care, being comfortable, pain-free, and popular.

The world values wealth, power, security, ease and self-sufficiency. Jesus says the truly well off are the lowly, the empty, the defenseless sufferers. Does this make sense? Only if there is a God and only if heaven is real because heaven is exactly what God promises to those who are willing to face suffering because of their commitment to him.

Remember that God’s outlook differs from the world’s. What people laugh at, God blesses and honors. What the world persecutes, God rewards. The kingdom of heaven belongs not to the proud, the high and the mighty, but to humble followers of Jesus Christ. They remain faithful to him no matter what it costs. In the end, they get the biggest blessing.

PRAYER

Father, we praise you this day for all who suffer for the sake of Christ. We ask you to be with them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.