Today's devotion from Proverbs 22.
Ok. Let's be honest. My name is Jeremy, and I hate those "If you love Jesus" memes on Facebook. There. I said it. It drives me bonkers to be scrolling through Facebook and to see someone post one of those ridiculous pictures. "If you see an angel, type amen and share to be blessed." "If you love Jesus, type hallelujah and receive and unexpected blessing in two days." "If you feel sorry for this pitiful child..." You get the idea.
I recently came across one that takes the cake. It was posted by a pastor who encouraged his followers to go out and take what they wanted before someone else got it. When Stef saw it, she showed it to me. We began to scroll through the comments to see "Amen's" and "Preach It's" by many of the responders.
I don't usually pull the "look at my education" card, but in all my years of private and academic study, I still couldn't find a chapter and verse for this ideology. What I can find are texts that would seem to stand in direct opposition to this philosophy. Memes like those mentioned, as well as this post on Facebook, illustrate a growing problem in the cultural Christianity that pulses throughout our society. It is the mangled idea that if you believe God and do the right things, then you will get something out of it.
Let us spend a few moments considering verse 9, "A generous person will be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor." (Proverbs 22:9, CSB) Let's get one thing out of the way: this verse doesn't say that you will be blessed because you share your food. Unfortunately, our minds are wired so that we often see verses like this from the wrong perspective. We misunderstand this as a simple formula of A+B=C. If I see a poor person (A) + I share my food (B) = then, God will bless me. Again, that's not what this verse is saying.
So, what is this verse saying?
Well, in a way there is a sense of being blessed because of generosity, but the ability to be generous is also a form of the blessing. God promises provision for the weak. For the generous person, the ability to be used by God to fulfill this promise is a blessing. Shouldn't there be a sense of awe attached to the idea that God is using us, personally, as inadequate as we are, to fulfill His promises? Isn't that in itself a blessing?
So, today, don't do something in an attempt to receive a blessing from God. Just live a blessed life by being the person God uses to encourage and touch others. I guarantee He will also bless you.