Blessed in Imperfection

Nearly 10 years ago, Rachel and I had just moved back to the U.S. from Africa, and as parents of a toddler with another on the way, we were having a hard time making ends meet. 

What did we do?

We bought a gumball machine, of course.

Does that sound crazy? 

We actually bought two. 

We got approved to place them in the mall, paid for the necessary insurance (Yes, you have to buy insurance in case someone chokes on a gumball or the machine tips over and squashes someone’s Shih Tzu).

Guess what happened next (Besides me sitting in the food court, chuckling under my breath while kids begged their moms for quarters)?

What happened next is we made $700 a month on gumballs. Are you kidding me?

God met our needs through something as ridiculous as gumballs.

Have you ever been blessed like that? I hope you have. I’ve found that when most people experience a blessing like this, we often react in one of two ways:

  1. A Gollum-like obsession with the apparent source of the blessing. “My precious!”
  2. Joy-killing fear that the fountain of blessing is going to dry up at any moment.

Neither of those attitudes are healthy, and they certainly aren’t necessary.

There are two kinds of blessings:

Breadcrumb Blessings

Breadcrumb blessings are kisses from heaven which remind us that we’re loved. 

  • I just got the best parking spot ever! #blessed
  • I just found $20! #howboutdah

When these kinds of blessings happen, we smile, look to heaven, thank the Source, and pass the love on to the next person.

There is a different kind of blessing though that I want you to understand:

Bienaventurados

That’s a rad Spanish word for blessed. It’s way more profound than a breadcrumb blessing - it speaks to the idea of living a blessed life. It’s the word my Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters use when they’re talking about Jesus’ teaching on the mountainside in Matthew 5: “Blessed (bienaventurados) are the poor in spirit…"

What bienaventurado means is that I didn’t just receive a blessing. I. AM. BLESSED.

The Heavens are open over my head. Like the best Charlie Brown raincloud ever.

It is a state of being; and it happens to be something that I didn’t earn and can’t lose.

Think of Joseph from the book of Genesis:

Joseph was blessed living with his family

Joseph was blessed in slavery

Joseph was blessed in prison

Joseph was blessed in his palace

It didn’t matter where he was or what he was doing, Joseph was blessed.

I can look back on my own life and realize that in spite of circumstances (good or bad) that I’ve lived through, I am blessed.

Here’s why this matters today: 

When God blesses my gumball machine, I hold it with open hands. I recognize that it is simply an expression of the open Heavens over my head. It isn’t precious to me. 

If the gumball machine breaks or gets stolen…that’s fine. God will bless me some other way. The raincloud of blessing is still over my head, and it never dries up.

Don’t get me wrong - God expected us to steward the blessing. We worked hard, and kept it clean and filled. We tithed and were generous with the money.

Also - please don’t misinterpret this post and assume that God just wants to bless us with money. In my life, the most joyful, bienaventurado people I’ve met have often been the poorest. Blessing and money are not synonymous.

What this post does mean is that there is no reason to fear loss if your life or job or business are in a tough spot. Keep working hard - as if you were working for God Himself, and then trust Him. 

You and I are sons and daughters, and our Dad knows exactly what we need and when we need it. Because we belong to His family, we are blessed. Not once or twice when good things happen. Those are just breadcrumbs. We are blessed 24 hours a day. In good times and bad. Whether we feel it or not.

We are blessed!

…for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:11-13

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