To be a blessing to God, we must walk with Him in gratitude, dependency, and love, acknowledging our need for repentance.
Then Jesus told him this story: “A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?”
Simon answered, “I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.”
“That’s right,” Jesus said. Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.
“I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” (Luke 7:41-47).
When I think about this account of Jesus forgiving the sins of the sinful woman, it makes me consider the ways in which we are to strive to be a blessing to God.
As we grow in understanding of God’s love for us, we will be less inclined to glorify ourselves with our actions and more inclined to bless God through our actions.
With that said, what does a person who is being a blessing to God look like? What are their characteristics?
Blessing God Through Gratitude
The Gratitude of David
David, the Psalmist, the King of Israel, certainly understood that to be a blessing to God, one must be grateful.
Many of David’s Psalms express gratitude to God. In each, He praises and thanks God for His many attributes.
David was in good relationship with God; the prophet Samuel called David a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). Yet David certainly wasn’t a saint. David did many things wrong.
But one thing David did right was to be grateful to God. He trusted God, loved God, and humbled himself before God. David feared the Lord in that he showed the Lord the respect and love that God alone deserves.
The Gratitude of the Woman
This same humility, the foundation of gratitude, is on display before Jesus Christ by this woman we read about in today’s passage. She cried over His dirty feet and cleaned them with her hair. Can you picture a more humbling act this woman could perform to show her gratitude for Christ’s forgiveness?
If you think back to the way the societies of Bible times treated women, it was not hard for women of that time to understand humility. They were not often recognized publicly for their achievements.
And yet, we see many women named prominently in the Bible as being devoted followers of Christ. These women knew how to be a blessing to God, because they were grateful for Jesus Christ’s message of salvation. Their devotion revealed their belief.
The Opposite of Gratitude
God is worthy of all our praise (Psalm 96:4-5). We will see that when we realize we are sinners in need of a savior, and Christ is that Savior. This is what the woman did in today’s passage.
When we realize our complete need for Christ, we will begin to be a blessing to God because we will gratefully present ourselves humbly before our God.
So, to be a blessing to God, our attitudes must reflect that gratitude. Yet, many of us can be prone to grumbling if things aren’t going our way.
One prime example of grumbling in the Bible was the Jewish people after being freed from Egypt. It wasn’t long before they were complaining about being in the wilderness and saying they were better off in Egypt.
All of us can fall to the temptation to grumble. But how can we have a bad attitude if we are truly grateful?
The answer is, perhaps we aren’t. Perhaps we are still struggling with our own will, rather than being dependent on Christ. If we want to be a blessing to God, we must give up our selfish, complaining ways and be dependent on Christ.
Blessing God Through Dependency
Since the Fall, mankind has had the desire to be self-sufficient. To be their own ruler.
One of the hardest things to get over is pride. If a person is proud, then they aren’t going to turn to anyone for help even if they aren’t truly self-sufficient. They will be too proud to allow anyone to think that they are not self-sufficient.
Believers are not exempt from the pride of self-sufficiency. If we are only willing to turn to God when we need help, this is a way of saying we are too proud to fully surrender to Christ, just as He asks us to.
To be a blessing to God, there is a notion we need to get away from. And that notion is that God is only there to provide for us. Thinking that we please God because we turn to him only when we need something is silly. When we act this way, it could be we don’t know what we owe Him. Or we may think that God owes us.
Our attitude, if we are going to be a blessing to God, must be like the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with ointment and wipe it with her hair. She understood that apart from Christ, her life was bankrupt. She had learned how much she needed to be in Christ’s presence.
Indeed, God owes us nothing, but gives us everything.
Jesus says that this woman’s sins, which were many, were forgiven, for she showed much love to Him. Which brings us to another way we can be a blessing to God.
Blessing God Through Love
When taking communion, I would always ask God to forgive me for the sins I committed during that week. But there was one particular Sunday I asked God what it is that I needed to be forgiven for.
It may sound silly to you, but I felt that I still had so much sin in my life, that I wanted to know what God was displeased with the most.
A clear thought came to mind that I needed to be forgiven for not loving Mary. Who Mary was doesn’t matter, but what does matter is that I didn’t love this person like I should. I was ashamed as I considered the thought of God knowing that I didn’t love Mary and I asked Him with all my heart for forgiveness.
I actually started to love Mary after that service. And I learned something that day.
If we don’t learn to love much, then we will not be able to be repentant. Our hearts will continue to be filled with selfishness. We can never be a blessing to God in this state because in this state we don’t love Him.
So my plea to you, follower of Christ is this: it is time to put aside our grumbling, self-sufficient, unloving ways. Let’s make Christ alive in our hearts and learn to be grateful, dependent, and loving before Him, so we can be a blessing to God.
More verses about being a blessing to God: