At the spring 2023 NextGen Gathering, we will wrestle with a familiar term: “blessing.” This word is so common that it shouldn’t require much commentary. And yet, as is often the case, we may only have a vague idea of the precise meaning of terms employed in daily conversation.

Unfortunately, western evangelicalism has often taken the approach that to be blessed is to acquire resources for oneself for our personal use. And, as the Church has expanded to other parts of the world, we have exported this falsehood. To dispel that myth and to sharpen our own missiological focus, a careful consideration of the earliest occurrences of “blessing” in the Bible is a good starting point.

The term “blessing.” In Genesis 1:22, 28; and 2:1 the Bible applies the term “blessed” to God’s creative work. By blessing the creatures that He made on Days 5 and 6, God expected them to be reproduce abundantly. In addition, humans were given responsibility over and expected to subdue any pockets of rebellion in the creation. Finally, He “blessed” Day 7 by making it unique (i.e., “holy”) from the other six days.

If we only had these three verses from the introduction to the Bible, we would already begin to be familiar with the concept of “blessing.” We might use three “E” words to describe the nature of creation blessing:

Blessing Enables. To facilitate the achieving of one’s intended destiny. Once blessed, the creation is supported in achieving God’s intended purpose.
Blessing Enriches. To enhance with required resources. Once blessed, created beings have all that is essential to carry out their assignment.
Blessing Empowers. To fortify a person or thing for the completion of a task. Once blessed, a thing has the capacity to accomplish its purpose.

In enabling, enriching, and empower what He has made, God has richly blessed his creation so that His grand and glorious purposes might be achieved.

Next time: Why is God’s blessing essential if we are to achieve his objectives?