Do you ever experience coincidences that stop you in your tracks? The pastor on the podcast explained the text would be from Deuteronomy. I turned it up and pulled directly behind a car with a tag that read “DEUT28.” A minute later the pastor said, “We’ll be looking at chapter 28 today.”
He had my attention. I’m not going to rehash the whole sermon, but I do want to share the core of the message that followed as I drove home and has stuck in my mind to this day.
We have lived a long time with the idea of blessings and curses. There is an unspoken economy in our souls: do right and be blessed, do wrong and be cursed. Moses went into great detail in the Torah to explain the system of blessings and curses.
But we learned the system doesn’t always make sense. We can’t earn or merit blessing in a grace economy. We can’t keep any law perfectly. Plus, the wicked sometimes prevail, and the righteous still find suffering. What really is blessing then?
Jesus shows up in the New Testament with his mic-dropping “you’ve heard that it was said BUT” statements and flips the whole thing upside-down. Who is blessed? It’s definitely not the rich, religious, or even rule keepers.
Poor. Mourning. Meek. Hungry. Weeping. Hated.
Imbedded in poverty, financial and in spirit, is an advantage. Within wealth (and self-righteousness) is a diminishing return, a distraction, a temptation to hoard, to store up, to believe the lie that happiness lies in excess.
The true kingdom isn’t accessed through pearly gates but rather through sharing life and it’s goodness, not hoarding it, not laying up treasures. The only message that will change your life, the core of all right living, the path to “blessing,” is a life devoted to humbly loving your neighbor as yourself.
Simple, not easy. I’ve heard it before. You’ve heard it before. But God, we need to be reminded, over and over and over again. Sometimes it just takes a podcast, a car tag, and a trip to Chipotle to notice.