Happy New Year.
The other day I asked someone how they were doing. They responded with, “I’m blessed!”
I have to admit that wasn’t the response I was expecting. Usually I get an, “OK,” “all right,” “fine” or even “good.” But not, “I’m blessed.”
As I thought about that, I quickly realized they were referring to their relationship with God and not their circumstances.
We all have varying degrees of “stuff” going on in our lives, whether we are believers or not. Circumstances should not dictate our degree of happiness or blessedness. In Christ Jesus, we can live above our circumstances even when we are in the middle of the “stuff.”
But to maintain a perspective of being “blessed” is a totally appropriate response when someone asks how you are doing (even when the one asking doesn’t really care how you are doing — it is just a greeting).
Additionally, as I thought about writing this article, knowing that it will be published the last Saturday before the beginning of a New Year, I thought of writing something with the usual “Happy New Year” motif.
Then it hit me!
I remembered from my seminary days the English words “happy” and “blessed” are one and the same word in the original Greek in the New Testament. The word is “makarios,” and it means to be “fortunate or supremely blessed.”
Makarios is translated, “fortunate” in the New International Version, when Paul declares to King Agrippa, “I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today.” (Acts 26:2)
It is translated, “happy” in the King James Version, when the writer to the Romans says, “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye.” (Romans 4:14)
The New King James Version, translates it as “blessed” when Jesus preached his famous Sermon on the Mount:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake.
“Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:3-12)
Whether it is translated blessed, fortunate or happy, it means the same thing – supremely blessed.
Greg Schannep is pastor of Faith Fellowship in Nolanville.