Psalm 128:1, Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways!
Any Christian who fears, loves, and trusts God knows how blessed they are. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, we are richly blessed. Christians are the most blessed people on the planet, for we have been blessed in that we belong to Christ for all eternity. If that doesn’t make you feel blessed, then I don’t know what will.
Many of us have the fortune of saying we’ve been blessed with loving, God-fearing parents. A lot of Lutherans are born Lutheran. They’re born into a Lutheran family, they go to a Lutheran church (and often Lutheran schools), and they stay Lutheran their entire lives with this close-knit Lutheran family. I wasn’t born Lutheran. I have vast experience with many Christian denominations and I found my way into the graciousness of Lutheranism when I started college at Concordia University-Ann Arbor. I would estimate that approximately 98% of Lutherans I know were born into a Lutheran family with parents and siblings who have been close to God for most of their lives. That isn’t to say they didn’t have their personal problems, but I have no idea what it’s like to live in a family like this. Sure, my parents are Christians, but we seldom went to church when I was a kid and when we did, I didn’t understand anything I was learning. I knew who Jesus was and that He died on the cross, but I didn’t understand why. It’s easy to envy what other people have, and I won’t deny that I envy the God-fearing families these fellow Lutherans have. Their parents are still together and go to church regularly and their siblings are believers. My parents are Christian but still seldom go to church, my parents are divorced, and my siblings want nothing to do with God. I often wish my family were like theirs.
However, there’s no use in envying what others have when we don’t have it. I can wish all I want that my family were like theirs, but I have an even greater blessing in that I have been adopted as a son of God in my Baptism. Having a close-knit Christian family is a great blessing and all, but that’s not the greatest blessing one can have. If anything, I have an advantage. Because of my childhood, I’m aware of the dangers that having a family who seldom goes to church brings; it makes the world a lot more appealing, which speaks for my siblings’ lack of faith. Because of this, my desire to raise a family in the Church is strong and I know what it takes to make this happen, should the Lord bless me with a wife and children. For some of you, however, you may think back on your family or your own past marriages and you don’t see blessings. Instead, you may see painful memories and your envy for a God-fearing family would be even stronger than mine. Try not to think so much on these painful memories. Use them to make better ones.
Always remember the greatest blessing of all that you have in Christ—that you have been baptised into His family. Nothing can be better than that. God sent His Son to suffer and die in our place. By His wounds, we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5). And so because of this rich blessing we receive, we serve the Lord with joy as we receive Word and Sacrament. And in response to our rich blessing, we can be a blessing to others (1 Peter 3:9).