by Mark Batterson on Youversion
Playing the Long Game
For our final day together exploring God’s blessings, I want to share where I believe being a bigger blessing starts: clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, and caring for the sick.
Every statistic about people living below the poverty line or experiencing homelessness reveals how much our cities are hurting below the surface. Every number has a name, every name has a story, and every story matters to God. You can add other metrics to the mix, such as mental health. And you can fill in the blank based on where you live. But no matter how you slice it, we live in a fallen world surrounded by hurting people. The good news? God’s kingdom is coming, and we are the conduits of His blessing.
Seeking the health of your city and caring for the poor and hungry may sound daunting, but it is really just another invitation from God to bless others and receive His blessing in return. Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40, NIV). That’s the heart of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. It’s the way we play the long game, the giving game!
Show me the size of your dream, and I’ll show you the size of your God. So what are you believing God for? Of course, no matter how big your dream is, God is bigger still! James, the brother of Jesus, reminds us, “You do not have because you do not ask God” (James 4:2, NIV) Jesus’s words up the ante: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7, NIV).
Blessing is yours for the asking, but the only way to keep it is to give it away.
In the words of the martyred missionary Jim Elliot, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
So who will you bless today? How will you bless them?
What are you waiting for?
What is a prayer for blessing that you have been hesitant to ask God for? In light of the Scripture passages above, why are you hesitant?
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’Matthew 25:31-40
You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.James 4:2
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.Matthew 7:7