The Challenge of Blessing the Blessed
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear. But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Luke 1:42-43 TNIV
Perhaps the greatest test of what kind of person we really are occurs when the Lord sets someone right before us to whom he has given great blessing.
Show me a person in whose lap the Lord lays a great blessing and I’ll show you someone who will be tempted to become proud about it. Show me someone who receives a gift from God and I’ll show you friends and family of that one who will harbor secret jealousy and open envy rather than secret prayer and open joy. Show me anyone who has received anything good from God and I’ll show you someone (not to mention the someones around them) who has been tested by their being entrusted with the presence of blessing.
It’s light of all this that someone like Elizabeth shines brightly. Having yearned and prayed, petitioned and waited all her life for a child, now, miraculously in her older years, she is given the blessing of pregnancy. With her neighbors, she is fat with vindication as to her character and her shame is receding with each increase in garment size. And this is hardly the start of it all! An angel – Gabriel himself! – appeared to her and told her that her child would be a son, that his name would be great and that many would rejoice because of him. I ask you, how jealously would you guard such a blessing, such joy? How tightly would you hold on to every ounce of it?
And then comes the knock on Elizabeth’s door. Why, it’s her kin – sweet, young Mary. But somehow, someway, Elizabeth is filled with the realization that Mary, too, is expecting and that she will have a son and that, here’s the rub, his greatness will infinitely surpass that of your own unborn son!
How would you have reacted? How would you have treated Mary? Would jealousy flare up in you over her greater blessing? Would bitterness begin to eat away at your heart over this youth being blessed so when you’ve waited your whole life for just a taste of such a blessing? Would you resent the fact that your son would play second fiddle all of his life?
Yes, to bless those around who are blessed is no small thing. To rejoice with those who rejoice can be a mighty tall order. To allow the Lord to bless as he will and for your will not to be disturbed or provoked by that is a sign of true maturity, a maturity that does not necessarily come with advance in years, but only in growth in submission to God.
Thank you Lord, for teaching me through old Elizabeth’s mature selflessness. May you bless me to go and do likewise.