I’m not sure why “hashtags” became a thing. I mean, I’d always thought it was the ‘pound’ sign, or the ‘number’ sign. At some point in the early days of social media, the “#” became known as a “hashtag.”
Probably the first one I ever used was “#tbt,” which stood for ‘Throw-Back Thursday.’ I posted personally embarrassing pictures from the 80s thinking it’d be fun (it wasn’t all that fun). A lot of times I try to come up with clever hashtags, but more than a few times, especially if I’m posting about my family, I have actually been known to use “#blessed.”
I guess when I’ve used it I’ve been trying to convey my gratitude to God for the blessing of my family or other good things I might be experiencing. And that’s a good way to use it, although if you’ve been on Instagram or Facebook at all, you know that it’s gotten a little out of hand. Calling something, ‘#blessed’ has become a popular way for people to boast about accomplishments, show off their new purchase, or share where they’ve gone on vacation. It’s been called, “humblebragging…”
Look at my new Ferrari! - #blessed
Enjoying 2 weeks in Maui… - #blessed
I can’t believe I graduated Med school in 2 years with a 4.0 GPA! - #blessed
I think it’s safe to say that most people desire good things to happen to them in life, and if and when good things do happen, if they have any belief in a higher power that may have caused those good things, they refer to themselves as ‘blessed.’ Maybe even ‘#blessed.’
But what if life isn’t supposed to be about me being blessed? What if real life isn’t supposed to be about me at all? What if there’s Someone else that’s supposed to be receiving ‘blessing’ from me? As I read Scripture, I see over and over again the encouragment to ‘bless God.’ Maybe God should be the One posting “#blessed” on His feed because of all the ways His children are worshipping Him!
The Psalms are full of poems and songs, most of which are words of worship to God. Over and over again we read about ‘blessing’ God…
Psalm 26:12 “…In the great assembly I will bless the Lord.”
Psalm 31:21 “Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me.”
Psalm 72:18 “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things.”
Psalm 96:2 “Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.”
Psalm 103:3 “Bless the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, bless his holy name.”
Psalm 135:19-21 “O house of Israel, bless the Lord! O house of Aaron, bless the Lord! O house of Levi, bless the Lord! You who fear the Lord, bless the Lord! Blessed be the Lord from Zion, he who dwells in Jerusalem! Praise the Lord!
So what does it mean for us to ‘bless’ God?
The Shorter Westminster Catechism, developed by church leaders in the mid-1600s, says that the ‘chief end of man’ is to, “glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” I think maybe that starts us toward an understanding of what it means to ‘bless’ God. The purpose of our lives is not what we can get, but how we can glorify and bless God!
The Hebrew word used in the Psalms for “bless” actually means, “to kneel.” There’s an utter humility associated with it, bowing before another, honoring and praising the recipient of the blessing. This seems a bit ironic with our humblebragging usage of the word today!
So what if we started living with the goal of blessing God instead of seeking blessing from Him? Of course we will receive blessing from Him – He’s a loving Father who delights in us and in giving us good things. But that’s not the point… Worship, adoration, praise, honor, respect…’blessing’ God should be our top priority…
“Bless the Lord, O my soul! All that is within me bless His holy name!”
When my kids express their love to me, I know I’m #blessed… I’m thinking it’s the same with God.
Maybe we should spend more time finding ways to bless the Lord, and less time trying to come up with the next cool hashtag… JW…