If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a thousand times! A well-meaning person wanting to encourage me says, “Have a blessed day!” When you think about it, what in the world does that mean?
What does a blessed day look like? Does it mean I should look for more blessings, better circumstances or unexpected surprises today? What would make today more blessed than yesterday or tomorrow more blessed than today? Perhaps it is synonymous with wishing someone a good day. Could it be another way of saying, I hope your day is filled with uplifting experiences?
In any case, most of the time I accept what the person says with a smile and a simple “thank you.” This courteous, southern expression is so overused; it has become meaningless to many people. Perhaps it is similar to the greeting, “How are you?” When you say it, you really do not expect an answer. If, on the other hand, the person is serious in wishing you a blessed day, what does it mean?
I wonder what would happen if you asked the person what they have in mind when they wish you a blessed day? Do they understand “blessed” in the way Jesus used the word in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 4-7? Jesus identified the following as “blessed” individuals: the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted. The word He used is the same word that is translated “happy” or “joyful.”
A blessed person, and someone who receives blessings are not the same. We all receive blessings, but not all of us are blessed. Those Jesus identified as “blessed” are those who, in spite of their circumstances, experience joy and contentment. To be a blessed person has little to do with what happens around you, and everything to do with what happens in you. It is a matter of the heart and of attitude.
First, the blessed person sees beyond the current reality of suffering or loss, and draws strength and solace from the knowledge that what they are going through is only temporary. This person is able to put things in perspective. Here is how the Apostle Paul put it:
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Cor. 4:16-17 NIV)
Second, there is a difference between being blessed and receiving blessings. If you have received blessings, you will only be truly blessed as you pass those blessings on to others. Therefore, because we are the recipients of blessings from God, it does not mean that we are blessed people. The blessed person understand the purpose of God’s blessings is not to make us feel better, but to make us live better. As someone said, “it is not about what comes to us, but what comes through us that really counts.”
Do you want to have a truly blessed day? Many years ago someone shared with me this simple acrostic of joy: Jesus first, others second and yourself last.
When someone wishes you a blessed day, remember these two truths. First, you will have a blessed day, not because of what happens to you during the day, but because of the attitude in your heart, and the awareness of God’s purpose for your life. Second, you will enjoy the blessings that come your way only as you learn to share those blessings with others.