Matthew’s Musings – “God be merciful to us and bless us… That Your way may be known on earth…” (Psalm 67:1-2)

This psalm is a communal psalm of thanks calling Israel to praise God for God’s abundant blessings. Israel has always been blessed to be a blessing to the surrounding nations and the rest of the world. Abram is called to leave his own land and go to the Promised Land where he is to be a blessing (Genesis 12:2).

As sons and daughters of God we are blessed, and God calls us His beloved children. But often as Christians we give thanks for God’s blessings, but we don’t use these to bless others. We keep looking inward and become spiritual navel-gazers, hoarding God’s blessings for our own safety and security. In Exodus 16, after God has rescued them from Egypt, the Israelites complain about their food. So God provides just what they need for each day—manna and quail. But what happens if they gather too much food and hoard it? The food rots. God is teaching them to not hold onto their blessings.

What do we do with our blessings? For example, what about those coveted tax returns? I know I’m already thinking of all the things we need for our new house—a new washer and dryer, a new fridge, new light fixtures, and on and on. These things aren’t bad in themselves, but what if we thought about how we could support others first? How could we use our assets and talents—physical and spiritual—to bless others? How can our house, our car, our time, our talents, and our financial resources be a blessing? The Church is meant to be a blessing to the world– God’s hands and feet. When we turn inward and focus on ourselves, however, we get de-formed and we rot from the inside out. Yet, we don’t have to live in fear of not having enough. John tells us,

“Perfect love casts out fear… ”(I John 4:18). What if we opened our hearts and homes and churches to those who are different from us– the foreigners and strangers, the homeless, and the addicts? What if we tried to get to know and then served our neighbors and co-workers who look different from us? For our wedding, my wife chose the song, “Make Me a Servant,” as our final hymn to remind us that our marriage was to be a blessing to others.

May that be our prayer today!

Prayer Song for the Week: “Make me a servant, humble and meek/Lord, let me lift up those who are weak/And may the prayer of my heart always be:/Make me a servant, make me a servant, make me a servant today.”