God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’ ”
We naturally assume that it’s a good thing to be blessed. But, during my years in Texas, I realized that “bless” can have various nuances. If a Texan ever says to you, “Bless your heart,” that turns out not to be completely good. The phrase “Bless your heart” carries an assumption that something bad is happening in your life or that you’re a person with some kind of defect. “Bless your heart” might really mean “Bless your heart [because you just lost your job]” or “Bless you heart [because you don’t have any friends].”
In Genesis 1:28, God blessed “them,” that is, humankind as male and female, those whom he had created in his image. Just for the record, God did not say, “Bless your heart.” Rather, God’s blessing was unqualified and completely positive. In this verse, “bless” means more than “God greeted them.” Rather, by blessing human beings, God endowed them with goodness, capability, and opportunity. God indicated his favor and delight in the man and the woman he had made in his image. God’s blessing also served as a foundation for the imperative that is to follow.
As human beings, we have been blessed by God from the very beginning. As Christians, we are blessed beyond measure. Ephesians 1:3 says that God “has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing.” God has spoken well of you. God has given good things to you. God has called you to himself and has summoned you for a life of blessed servanthood.
Today might be a wonderful day for you, overflowing with multiple blessings. Or, today may be one of the hardest days of your life, filled with troubles and suffering. In all likelihood, today falls somewhere between these extremes. But the truth of Scripture is clear. God has blessed you in creation. God has blessed you in Christ. God cherishes you, delights in you, and has gifted you for partnership in his work in this world. May you live today with this assurance and encouragement.
No, not “Bless your heart,” but “God bless(ed) you!”
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
When you hear that God has blessed you, what comes to mind? When have you felt particularly blessed by God? How might you live today in light of God’s blessing? How might you share this blessing with others?
Gracious God, thank you for blessing humankind. Thank you for blessing me! I sense in this truth that your blessing doesn’t depend on me, on what I have done. It comes by your grace and is given freely. How thankful I am!
Help me, Lord, to live today as one who has been blessed by you. May I live with gratitude and joy. And may I share your blessings with others in my workplace, my neighborhood, and with all whom I encounter this day. Amen.