Alright, be honest. You've always thought that expression -- "Blessed to be a blessing" -- was probably just made up by some imaginative preacher who liked the alliteration of it all, or even worse that it was thought up by an enterprising t-shirt designer to move products.
But no, "Blessed to be a blessing" is a deeply biblical motif that shows up throughout our Holy Scriptures and crops up in Genesis 12:1-7 (our text for this Sunday).
God is talking to Abram (he's not Abraham yet, that changes hasn't happened at this point in the story) and God says, "I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing."
And there it is: Blessed to be a blessing.
God blesses us not so that we can hold on to those blessing and keep it all for ourselves but rather so that we can take that blessing and bring it to the world in order to bless others with it. Imagine what would have happened had Abram just kept that blessing to himself? Why, the story would just stop right there in its tracks wouldn't it? But rather, Abraham took that blessing and carried it forward following God and living into the fullness of God's promise so that we can number ourselves as part of that "great nation" that started with Father Abraham himself.
So it is more than just a catchy alliterative phrase or a jazzy t-shirt design -- for us as Christians it is an entire way of life. Through Christ Jesus our Lord we have been blessed in order that we might be a blessing. In that way we become not only recipients of God's grace, but instruments of it as well!
Come join us this Sunday at First Christian Church Scottsdale as we continue our Lenten "Take a Closer Look" Series by focusing on attention on the familiar story of Father Abraham and the surprising, revelatory, grace-filled words that it contains for us.
Note: If you missed the first two sermons from the series you can find my Ash Wednesday Homily here and my Sermon from the First Sunday of Lent here.
-------Genesis 12:1-7 The Call of Abram
Now the Lord said to Abram, ‘Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’
So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. Then the Lord appeared to Abram, and said, ‘To your offspring I will give this land.’ So he built there an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him.