Ten Grinches, Plus Two
December 13, 2019
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Did you know that the word clue originally referred to a ball of yarn? To flirt meant “to flick away.” The word awful meant “worthy of awe.” And the word naughty meant “having nothing.” Many words aren’t what they used to be! Words have a way of leaking their original meaning or they take on new connotations. Either way, words morph in meaning. And the word blessed is a classic example. In many ways, our culture has reduced it to a hashtag that comes across as a humblebrag. We use it to tag Instagram photos in exotic places or put on the license plates of very expensive cars. But the more exotic the place or expensive the thing, the more we devalue the original idea.
The blessing of God cannot be equated to external circumstances or material things. It’s an internal reality—a state of mind, a state of soul. It’s joy unspeakable. It’s peace that surpasses understanding. It’s things you can’t possibly put a price tag on. Are you good with God? Then you are blessed beyond measure, even if you drive a car that spends most of its time with a mechanic or if the most exotic place you’ve ever been is your grandma’s house.
The Greek word for “blessed” is makarios, and it’s the word Jesus employed to delineate the difference between giving and receiving. It’s a multidimensional word that means “make large.” In that sense, it aligns with the prayer of Jabez: “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!” It also allies itself with Isaiah’s exhortation: “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.” It doesn’t mean “to make large” as in “large and in charge.” It’s a humble heart that grows bigger and bigger the more and more it gives. It may even grow three sizes in one day, giving you the strength of ten Grinches, plus two!
Sorry—I couldn’t resist. Seussisms aside, nothing expands the borders of life like generosity! It will take you places you couldn’t get to on your own merit and introduce you to people you have no business being in the same room with. In the words of King Solomon, “A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.”
Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. NCC also owns and operates Ebenezers Coffeehouse, The Miracle Theatre, and the DC Dream Center. Mark holds a doctor of ministry degree from Regent University and is the New York Times bestselling author of 17 books, including The Circle Maker, Chase the Lion, and Whisper. Mark and his wife, Lora, have three children and live on Capitol Hill.