Listen to this Sermon!Who here feels like you are extremely blessed? Do we even realize how incredibly blessed we are?

Why has God blessed us so much?

Think about this: The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world is well-fed, one-third is under-fed, and one-third is starving. Why has God blessed us so much? All of us had some sort of Christmas dinner, I’m sure. And I’m sure that most of us had left-overs. We can’t even eat all the food we have. Yet, millions starve to death every year. Why has God blessed us so much?

50% – thats half! – of the world population survives on less than $850 per year. That’s just $2.33 a day. Yet, if we accidentally dropped 2.33 worth of change into some deep snow, we might not even bother to try to dig it out. Its just a couple bucks.

Why has God blessed us with such an incredible amount of wealth? I found an interesting website called “globalrichlist.com” and if you go to that website, you can put in the amount of your annual income and it will tell you how you rank in wealth compared to the rest of the world. I don’t know how much all of you make in a year, but if you make just $20,000 per year, you’re in the top 12% of the world’s wealthiest people. (By the way, the poverty line in Alberta right now is $23,000) You could be considered to be “living in poverty in Alberta” and still be in the top 12% of the world’s wealthiest people. Why has God blessed us so much!?

And that’s merely the physical blessings. What about all the other blessings God has given us? What about your relational blessings, for example?

How many of you have been blessed by loving parents – or by good friends who care about you? What a huge blessing that is! Yet how many people in this messed up world don’t have that privilege? How many young people are out on the streets with no one in the world to care for them? How many people wake up each morning dreading the loneliness that this day will bring? And yet we have family, we have friends, we have this church. Why has God blessed us so much?

And how about, what I would call “Your historical blessings” – that is, your place in history? Why do you get to live in Canada in the year 2013? You could have been born in Africa or China. You could have been born in the 1700s or in 900BC. But God decided to place you in Alberta, Canada in 2013. This is probably the reason why we enjoy so many of those other blessings. If we had lived in any other time or any other place, chances are we would not as extremely blessed as we are.

I did a little research and found that, over the course of human history, there have been approximately 107 billion people live on the earth. And of those 107 billion people, God chose you to live in Alberta in 2013. Alberta’s population right now is about 4 million people – that means that 106 billion, 996 million people are not as blessed as you! Is that not incredible? Why are we so blessed?

And if all that is still not enough, what about your spiritual blessings? For God to give us salvation, forgiveness, eternal life, peace & joy! Billions of people in this world have none of that. They’ve never known the peace that floods in when Jesus wipes your sins away. They don’t have the hope of life forever with their Creator. They haven’t experienced the joy of serving and worshipping God. Why has God blessed us in such an incredible way?

And what absolutely blew my mind as I thought about this earlier this week, was that when you put all those blessings together – our phenomenal physical blessings, our amazing relational blessings, the blessings of being in our time and in our place in history, and to top it all off, our spiritual blessings – We have got to be the most blessed people in the history of the world! Aren’t we?

And that makes me ask the question, “Why?” Why on earth would God bless us SOOO much!?

We didn’t earn it. We enjoy most of these blessings because we were born at the right time and the right place. Really, we don’t even deserve it. We’re not that good. And yet, God has lavished us with blessings upon blessings. Why?

Random chance? No, I don’t think so. God’s not a random chance kind of guy. Everything He does, He does with a purpose. So, what’s the purpose of all these blessings?

Take a look with me at Romans chapter 11 – verse 36.

“For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.”
Romans 11:36

Everything we have – all of the blessings that we just listed – EVERYTHING – comes from Him and exists by his power, and is intended for His Glory!

Your blessings are for His glory.

Now I don’t know how you react when you hear that. But I immediately think about Spiderman.

In case you haven’t seen the Spiderman movie, but let me give you a quick summary of the plot. Peter Parker – aka Spiderman – is a regular high school student out on a field trip with his science class, when he gets bitten by an experimental genetically enhanced super spider. The bite from this spider gives Peter Parker superhuman abilities. He soon discovers that he’s faster and stronger than before. He can climb up walls and can shoot out spiderwebs from his wrist. It makes for a great movie.

But there is a line in the movie that gets repeat several times. It’s the advice of Peter’s Old Uncle Ben – who says to him, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

That’s what I think of when I read this verse. When I read that “everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory”, and I think about all the blessings God has given me – my conclusion is this: “With great blessings, come great responsibility.”

God has given us tremendous blessings – therefore, it is our tremendous responsibility to bring Him tremendous glory. That’s the purpose of his blessings – they are intended to bring Him glory.

So how do our blessings bring God glory? How does you having a fat bank account bring God glory? How does you having great friends bring God glory? How does you being saved from from your sin bring God glory?

I think we find a hint in the story of Abraham. Abraham was another guy whom God blessed like crazy. And He did so for a very specific reason. Turn with me to Genesis 12 – starting at verse 1. Look at what God says to Abram.

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”
Genesis 12:1-3

There are three key phrases in this passage that I want you to notice: “I will bless you… You will be a blessing…. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”

So why does God bless Abraham? So that Abraham could be well off and live comfortably all the days of his life? No. God blessed Abraham so that he could be a blessing to others. He was blessed so that he could be a blessing.

And what a blessing that it was. The phrase “All families on earth will be blessed through you” refers to the fact that Jesus Christ would one day be born out of Abraham’s family. Salvation would be available to all people because of this blessing that Abraham received.

You and I have been blessed with salvation through God’s blessing to Abraham. Abraham was blessed so that He could be a blessing. Is that making sense?

You and I are blessed for the same reason. We are blessed so that we can be a blessing to others – which of course, brings great glory to God.

All those financial blessings that God has poured out on you – they’re not just for you to spend on your own personal pleasure. God gave you all that so that you can be a blessing to others!

All those relational blessings God’s given you (all those great friends and family that God has sent your way) – they’re not just so that you can soak it all in and have a wonderful time! He’s had them pour into your life, so that you can pour into someone else’s life.

Your place in history – God didn’t just put you here in Alberta in 2013 so that you would have a sweet and easy life. There are people here that He wants you to bless. There are purposes here for your life that He wants you to fulfill.

And your spiritual blessings? God didn’t just save you so that you could go to heaven. He saved you so that you could bring a whole lot of people with you to heaven. He gave you joy so that you could bring joy to others. He gave you forgiveness so that you could bring forgiveness to others. He gave you life so that you could share that life with the people around you.

Are you beginning to see that with great blessings come great responsibilities? You’re not just blessed to be blessed. You’re blessed to be a blessing. To pass your blessings along.

In 2 Corinthians 9, Paul talks about this exact thing. In this instance, he’s talking about being generous with our financial blessings, but I think it applies to all of our blessings. 2 Corinthians 9 – starting at verse 6.

Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 9 As the Scriptures say,
“They share freely and give generously to the poor.?    Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.
11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. 12 So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.
13 As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God.
2 Corinthians 9:6-13a

And there it is again. When we pass our God-given blessings on to others, God gets the glory. And that’s exactly the point. That’s God’s blessing strategy. He gets the glory when we pass our blessings on to others.

Over the next five weeks, we’re going to be looking further at exactly how we can be a blessing to the people around us. Again, not just with our financial blessings, but with all of our blessings. How do we bring God glory by blessing others?

We’re going to be using the acronym B.L.E.S.S. to help us remember what we learn. BLESS stands for: Begin with prayer, listen, eat, serve, and story. Those might not seem to make much sense right now, but I trust that they will as we go through them.

And for those of you who like to do a little homework, much of this sermon series is based on a short e-book titled “Discover Your Mission Now”. There is a link for that book on that little card that you found on the chairs today. It’s a free ebook. And I’d encourage you to download it and read through over this next month or so. I think God will really speak to you through it.

With that, I’m going to invite Heather to come up here and lead us in that song we sang earlier – “I am blessed”. Because we truly are. And over the next few weeks as we learn and talk about how to be a blessing to the people around us, I think this song will become our theme song – reminding us that we are blessed so that we can be a blessing – to the glory of God.