When I ask people at church how they are doing, I often hear, “I am blessed.” If I press for more information, I learn how they interpret being blessed. They are happily married, live in a nice home, and have a great job. They feel good about their future because their family is in good health, both physically and spiritually.
First-century Jews felt the same way. They believed the healthy and wealthy were God’s favored people, which led to the conclusion that the poor, sick, and afflicted were suffering because of their sin.
This misconception is why Jesus’ disciples looked at the man born blind and asked who had sinned, the parents or the man prior to his birth (John 9:2). They were sure it had to be one or the other.
The disciples were amazed when Jesus said it was easier for a rich man to pass through the eye of a needle than to enter the Kingdom (Matthew 19:24–25). As they saw it, the poor, sick, and afflicted were already lost. If the prosperous were also lost, who was left to be saved?
Jesus said the greater blessing comes from giving (Acts 20:35), and the greatest in Heaven is the one who gives the most (Mark 10:44).
Perhaps I should focus on giving to the needy who have no means to offer anything in return. Assuming Jesus is right and society is wrong, would I not be in a better position to truthfully say, “I am blessed”?