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Guest Commentary

Abel: Touchdowns done, but blessing abound


Our Arizona-hosted Super Bowl recently concluded. The Kansas City Chiefs came out on top. Congrats to the Chiefs!

Watching that game reminded me of a story from church. A 3-year-old child who regularly watched football games with his father was taken to church one Sunday. When the pastor raised his hand to offer the blessing, the child leaped to his feet, raised his hand and shouted, “Touchdown!”

Well, there won’t be any more touchdowns for a while, but abundant blessings remain all around us. 

When someone sneezes, we hear, “God Bless you!” There’s an old blessing that goes, “If God sends you down a stoney path, may God bless you with strong shoes.” A blessing from William Arthur Ward that I especially like is, “Blessed is the one who learns to admire but not envy, follow but not imitate, praise but not flatter, and lead but not manipulate.”

In the beginning of Matthew Chapter 5, we read things like, and I paraphrase, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. Blessed are those who mourn, for they are comforted. Blessed are the meek, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, blessed are the merciful, and the pure in heart because they will know all that they long for. Blessed are the peacemakers and those persecuted because of righteousness.”

Who really wants to be blessed like that? Take, for example, “Blessed are the meek?” Do we really want to be known as meek in the 21st century? 

There was a cartoon one time showing a corporate board sitting around a large conference table. The CEO asked cynically, “Oh, so the meek shall inherit the earth? Well, that’s okay,” he said with a sneer. “Because we still own Congress.” Unfortunately, there’s too much truth in that cartoon.

We often think of being meek as a less desirable characteristic. Another word we often think of for meek is weak. But I recently read about people who claim the quality of meekness and associate it with goodness, kindness, quiet strength, serenity, healthy self-worth and self-control. Reading that description reminded me of one of my Sunday school teachers. She truly was meek — good, kind, and caring. It seems to me the world would be a better place if we had more like her. So yes, may the meek inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who mourn? On a cold and wet day this past November, I stood under a tent with a group of family and friends gathered for my brother’s graveside service. We were mourning, and yet, as I heard the word of God proclaimed that day, as I was warmed by the presence of all the people gathered and the eternal promises of God weaving their way in our midst, I felt consoled. It was in that moment, I truly understood that blessed are those who mourn.

The old hymn goes, “Count your blessings.” What a worthwhile activity.