The Problem with #blessed

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
–Jesus the Christ (Acts 20:35, ESV)

One of my biggest pet peeves happens to be the combination of a symbol and a word: #blessed. The hashtag (or simply the word blessed) seems to be used quite frivolously by people without any real thought to the Biblical, theological, and practical implications. I see it all the time on Facebook and Twitter. Pictures and/or statements that resemble one of these:

Look, my shiny new sports car. #blessed
On vacation at a beautiful beach. #blessed
Bought a large house. #blessed
At a fancy restaurant. #blessed
Got the latest gadget. #blessed

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Now I’m not here to dispute anybody’s claim to happiness. God did create the world for our enjoyment. Nor am I saying that owning or experiencing any of the above-mentioned is necessarily wrong. But are we really #blessed if we own a fancy car? Or buy a new house? Or go on a fun-filled vacation? And on the other side of the spectrum, are we not #blessed if we don’t possess any of them?

It’s a sobering thought. Especially in comparison to our brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe. Are not the Christians who are fleeing for their lives in hostile parts of the world also blessed by God? Are not the Christians in poverty-stricken places also blessed by God? Are not those without homes, cars, and opportunities to “get away” also blessed by God? At what point in time did material things and worldly wealth become the standard-bearer for blessedness?

If we possess material wealth, let’s call it what it is. We have #money. We have #things. We have #opportunities. And along with that, we have the burden of #responsibility to steward these things well for the kingdom of God (see post here). But we probably shouldn’t call it #blessed.

Want to know what the Bible indicates as #blessed? Well, here are a few things that you can put that hashtag on:

Jesus’ death on the cross. #blessed
Eternal life. #blessed
A relationship with God. #blessed
Blessed are the poor. #blessed
Sacrifice. #blessed
Giving rather than receiving. #blessed
Spiritual gifts. #blessed
Persecution. #blessed
Physical death. #blessed

I’m certain that not everybody reading this post is going to completely agree with me. And the truth is, there are probably more questions than answers regarding a matter like this. But I invite us to consider and wrestle with what it truly means to be #blessed.