A while back I had shared a “Day-votional Truth for the Day”: “Good news is hard to keep quiet.” I quoted the response of Peter and John after they had been asked by some Jewish religious leaders not to speak of Jesus again: “”Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about the wonderful things we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20, NLT).
One of the Facebook comments about my post brought up an interesting perspective, and maybe even a different issue altogether–about feeling guilty when sharing with others what God has done for us. But maybe we can tie the two thoughts together.
Should We Apologize for Our Blessings?
Do you ever feel guilty about speaking of God’s personal blessings, especially around an unbeliever or someone less fortunate? Do you ever feel like Jacob’s favored son, Joseph, sporting his coat of many colors and almost bragging about his God-given dreams about his brothers (Genesis 37)? Should we apologize for our blessings? Should we keep quiet about them?
Boast About Jesus
Regarding the first verse above, what Peter and John shared was the Good News–the Gospel–the message of Jesus’ love and forgiveness for all through His death and resurrection. Peter and John were Jesus’ disciples, eye-witnesses, and would be persecuted everywhere they went. Yet these two could not keep silent!
They boasted only about Jesus, nothing of themselves. Addressing unbelievers did not silence them. Because unbelievers were the ones Jesus died for. No apology needed there.
The “good news” of Christ and knowing Him certainly tops our list of blessings. After that we could each testify to our own personalized ways that God has given us grace and favor.
Our Thanksgiving Blessings
When our family shares a Thanksgiving meal each year, we use a long-standing “3-bean” testimony time. We take turns enumerating what we are thankful for that year, dropping a bean in a jar on each turn (After years and years of use, the jar is filling up). We chose beans because that was what we ate for our meals on a couple of mission trips at Thanksgiving years ago.
Focus on the Giver
But if we focus on the gift rather than the Giver, especially to others less fortunate, they might not appreciate our words. Use sensitivity and focus on how God can encourage others through you. Blessings were meant to be shared.
Our Blessings Also Come in Disguise
Remember too, that blessings often come in disguise. Through God’s amazing grace, has he turned pain into praise, or ashes into beauty for you? (Joseph had his turn at facing disaster–which truly turned into a blessing later). That’s a blessing you can share when God prompts you to, just as you can a tangible gift such as a raise, a good job, or a new baby. When, where, and how you vocalize your blessings might be the key.
Change Our World for Christ
How can you use God’s blessings to bless others? If every person who has been blessed by God in some way (and we all have) would unselfishly share with others this year, with even one person, their time, their service, their possessions, their love–and especially the good news of God’s love–we might relieve the economic crisis, and truly change our world for Christ. Good news and godly living is too powerful to keep silent. Others are watching–and waiting.
Even Persecution Is a Blessing
Most of us will never experience the kind of persecution the disciples faced. Buy many who are reading this blog here or in other countries may be experiencing persecution now, due to their faith–and it’s increasing daily. Even persecution is a blessing, according to Matthew 5:10-11. Peter and John and all of Jesus’ disciples were blessed in this way!
Turning Our Blessings Into Boomerangs
So do these two trains of thought come together–the issue of sharing God’s good news freely and testifying to His blessings without guilt? I think so. Should you be quiet about the good news of God’s love? No. People are literally dying to know it. God’s kind of love is not boastful, rude, or insensitive. Should you apologize for the way God has blessed you? No. He has blessed you so that you can bless others. Thank God for His undeserved grace and favor on your life.
Should you ask God for wisdom, for both boldness and gentleness, and for opportunities to share His blessings with others? Absolutely. Turn your blessings into boomerangs. What God gives you, send it back to Him, so He can help you channel those blessings to others. Good news–and God’s blessings–were never meant to be hoarded.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15 NIV).
A BLESSED THANKSGIVING TO ALL OF YOU!!
What do you think? What blessings has God given you to share?
For an additional perspective on Thanksgiving, read my blog on Simple Things, SimpleThanks, and Eight Unexpected Blessings from God.