Christians, a Blessing
by William Nicholson, 1862
"I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing." Genesis 12:2.
This promise intimated that to the last ages, important blessings would, for Abram's sake, be given to his posterity. He would be rendered an instrument of great good to his relations and neighbors, and his example would be eminently useful until the end of time.
All the true blessedness of the world now, or which it ever shall possess, is owing to Abram and his posterity. Through them we have a Bible, a Savior, and a Gospel. They are the stock on which the Christian Church is grafted. Their very dispersions have proved the riches of the world. All who are the disciples of him who descended from Abram, are blessed that they may be a blessing.
I. To Be Blessed of the Lord, Is Essential to Usefulness."I will bless you."
He blesses them with conversion, or they could not bless the unconverted. They are awakened, regenerated, and enjoy salvation. Their example is holy — they can speak about salvation.
He blesses them with knowledge, 2 Corinthians 4:6; 1 Peter 2:9. They must have knowledge of Christ and of his doctrines — or they could not enlighten others.
With spiritual enjoyment, communion with himself, etc., or they could not say, "O come, taste and see that the Lord is gracious!"
With mental ability — with various talents; some with considerable, or extraordinary talents. They are given to be employed; they qualify for eminent usefulness.
With health and strength, activity and energy. The sick would be glad to be so blessed, that they might be a blessing to others.
With wealth, by which great good may be accomplished. God is the giver of it. It is not their own wealth. For its proper use they are responsible.
II. When God Blesses Any Man, it Is with a Design That He May Be a Blessing to Others.
Recognition of being blessed of the Lord. It is not merely by my own wisdom, might, etc., that I am blessed. James 1:17; Romans 11:35, 36; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.
Recognition of responsibility to God on that account. The blessings of God must be accounted for to him when he shall judge the world. Matthew 25:14, etc.
A consecration of that with which he has blessed us to his glory, Romans 12:2.
We may bless the world,
1. By holy example. Living the Gospel, and exemplifying it. "You are our epistles." 2 Corinthians 2:3. A holy life has great weight and influence, Matthew 5:13-16.
2. By their prayers. James 5:16. For the Church, and the world.
3. By diffusing the knowledge of the Gospel. Ministers may do this by preaching the Gospel faithfully, etc. All may support the various institutions designed to bring sinners to the knowledge of the truth. How many have been thus blessed!
4. By laboring in that sphere to which our talents are specially appropriate. Some in the pulpit — others in the Sunday-school — others in the house of affliction — all by personal entreaty, warning and admonishing the sinner; inviting them to the house of God.
5. By financial contribution. While others unhesitatingly give lavishly their money to the promotion of sin — should the Christian foster a niggardly spirit? No, for God loves a cheerful giver of that which he has given them, and it is expected according to what a man has, and not according to what a man has not.
6. Lastly. Think of the motives to induce to this self-consecration. Our having been blessed, as before stated, is a powerful motive. Take also the following:
Pleasure. An active life of service, is the happiest in the world. Love to God and man sweetens labor.
Success. God will bless such efforts. "Your labor is not in vain in the Lord." "My word shall not return unto me void." What a blessing to the Church was Paul — all the Apostles — Luther, Wickliffe, martyrs, Whitfield, the nonconformists! etc. All our civil and religious institutions, our elevation as a nation — we owe to Christian effort. Christianity has turned the human mind from idolatry, indolence, apathy — and fixed it upon God, and useful arts, science, commerce, etc.
Distinction. An active Christian is infinitely superior to an indolent sinner who destroys much good. He is superior to an infidel, or atheist, who seeks principally after sensual indulgence. What have they done to benefit mankind? Where are the institutions to ameliorate the condition of mankind which they have established?
Divine approbation. "If any man serves me — him will my Father honor." He honors them now, and he will at the judgment-day, when the exploits of warriors and the parade of kings, etc., will appear less than vanity!