We throw this word blessing around...but do we just use it as a byword? Do we truly understand the meaning of the word when we say "I'm blessed?" At it's base level, to receive a blessing means to have our needs supplied. Philippians 4:18-19 gives us an example of Paul's needs being met through gifts of God directly and through His church: " 18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. " It is a mixed bag: the blessed receives the need being met, and the blesser receives a blessing by being able to meet that need. To be a blessing means to meet a need, to receive a blessing means to recieve a need. In a way, giving meets a spiritual and emotional need, in that we become the Temple as God's Holy Temple was meant to be. A Careful reading of Deuteronomy 14-15 teaches that much of what is given should be given to the poor, widow, orphan and the sojourner, as well as to the priests and Levites, since their portion was with the Lord, and the received no land as inheritance. In essence, what we see the church become in the book of Acts is exactly what the Temple was designed for in Deuteronomy, Chronicles, and throughout Scripture. It all leads back to God's plan in the beginning: Humanity being fruitful, multiplying, subduing the earth together, ruling together on earth and supplying one another's needs (being fruitful), and caring for God's creation (See Genesis 1-3, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, for laws pertaining to caring for one's neighbors, strangers, poor, widow, and orphan). The ideal church IS a blessing! It is when those who have means, and are blessed abundantly by God share with those who have none, and thus participate in the blessing of the good God by acting as His agent in love and generosity. This empowers others in the church when they have means to become loving, generous, kind,and helping support the community of God's people, and so the cycle should continue as we grow together in love and unity, as we are blessed and be a blessing in return. It's a never ending cycle! So what are you using your blessing for? How are you becoming what God is calling you to be with what He has blessed you with?
Acts 2:42-47 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Fellowship of the Believers
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe[a] came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
a. Acts 2:43 Or fear
Acts 4:23-37 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Believers Pray for Boldness
23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant,[a] said by the Holy Spirit,
“‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? 26 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’[b]—
27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.
They Had Everything in Common
32 Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35 and laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36 Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37 sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.