Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (NIV)
When I started my nursing career, I worked on an inpatient rehabilitation unit. I cared for patients with brain injuries from accidents or strokes. I cared for individuals who could not swallow, talk, urinate, dress themselves, walk or recognize the people who loved them. It was an eye-opening year. I found myself being grateful that I was able to walk to the bathroom and complete that task without assistance. Eating independently had a new feeling. Prior to working with those patients, I thought I was truly grateful for the blessings in my life, but during that year, I realized how much I take for granted.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking we are self-made. My success is mine. My failures are mine. The skills I have came from my hard work. The things I have I earn and deserve. How different Ephesians 1:3 would be if Paul held that perspective. I’m not as thankful for the blessings I’ve “earned.” I’m not as generous with my praise to God when I think I did the work.
Blessings come in the form of things, relationships, skills and abilities. Blessings are given and received. Sometimes blessings are a deserved reward. Other times, a blessing is a merciful gift.
The book of Ephesians is a letter written to the Christians at the church in Ephesus. The first 2 verses start out like many letters. Paul starts out with, Dear Saints, it’s Paul. Then verse 3 gushes as if Paul could no longer hold in his passion.
Paul begins by first, honoring God with praise and then thanking God for all He’s given us! Paul’s praise comes from gratitude. Gratitude for all of the things, relationships and abilities God has given. Do you share Paul’s perspective? Does your heart burst with gratitude for everything? Sadly, mine doesn’t.
The New Life Version translates this verse like this:
Let us honor and thank the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has already given us a taste of what heaven is like.
…Already given us a taste of what heaven is like… That is a perspective changer. God has already started to bless us with everything; everything we have, love and do. Perhaps it’s because He has so much to bless us with, He couldn’t wait.
Take a different look at things today and see if you can share Paul’s sentiment.
Join me in this prayer for today:
Father, forgive me for my selfishness and pride. Forgive me for trying to take the credit. Thank you for Your lavish blessings. Teach me to look at the things I have and the things I can do as coming directly from You. Help me to rest in your provision, generosity and love. Thank you.