This phrase is like a jingle. You hear this jingle sung from pulpits far and wide, parroted by ‘Christian’ politicians and preachers alike—especially those of the prosperity fake gospel ilk. To me, it has become an ear-sore.
“Blessed” here has become defined in world-conforming terms, a carnalized concoction flowing out of a covetous heart. To be blessed is conflated with getting rich with bucket loads of money. And in the same vein, being a “blessing” to others is conflated with giving away packet loads of money. In our consumerist materialistic culture, getting “blessed to be a blessing” has become nothing more than “getting lots of money to give away some money.” What a cynical perversion of God’s blessings! Not only have we in our greed contorted God into a genie, we have bastardized His blessings into cash spitting out of the cosmic ATM.
In this moneytheistic schema, anything or anyone outside the confined scope of money does not count as proper blessing. For preachers of the prosperity scam, there is at best lip service paid to non-material blessings. Even supposedly non-material well-being is defined in terms reminiscent of the hyper-capitalist American dream—feeling super perky and piped up; laughing from side to side with hysterical joy; living your secret dream life; walking around like a prince or princess with some uncanny vibe of royalty (whatever that means); or looking like an American idol or pop-star fawned upon by tons of adulating fans (oops, I mean ‘congregants’). Celebrity culture trumps biblical holiness.
Fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control—that mark a Christ-sanctified witness and disciple of Jesus are indeed God’s blessings. So are growing in biblical faith and hope; being strengthened in the Spirit to bear our own cross in the likeness of Christ; being trained to wait on God in quietness and solitude; learning to love and serve our wives like Christ loves His church; being anointed to speak truth to power in biblical justice and love; being empowered to contend against heresies and false teachers for the sake of Christ; and preaching and teaching the gospel to all peoples at the cost of our reputation, money, and even our lives. Are these not true blessings from God that enable us to be a blessing to others?
Are not these blessings found in sincere godly hearts rich or poor, healthy or sick, youthful or ageing, and even in those who might be disabled or disadvantaged in some way? Have we become so consumed by consumerism, so deranged by materialism, and so dehumanized by moneytheism that we dare to repurpose God to fit into our greed-defaced image of Him? And as a consequence of our defaced imaging of God, redefining and caricaturing His blessings into solely monetary terms?
The next time you hear someone say “I’m blessed to be a blessing,” ask them if they really know what they are talking about. You can stretch out your hand and ask them to share with you generous portions of their blessing. If they shrink back in fear, then you’ve got your answer: their hearts are on the money. And the money are for themselves. Let’s stop parroting celebrity church cliches like brainless idiots and start interrogating our pastors and preachers for biblical truth beyond ear-tickling platitudes. Christ demands from us far more than that.