Henrietta “Hetty” Green who died in 1916 has been called “America’s Greatest Miser,” yet may have been the world’s richest woman. She left an estate valued at over $100 million, which would be the equivalent of $2-3 billion today.
According to Wikipedia Green’s stinginess was legendary. She was said never to turn on the heat or use hot water. She wore one old black dress and undergarments that she changed only after they had been worn out; she did not wash her hands and she rode in an old carriage. She ate mostly pies that cost fifteen cents.
One tale claims that Green spent half a night searching her carriage for a lost stamp worth two cents. Another asserts that she instructed her laundress to wash only the dirtiest parts of her dresses (the hems) to save money on soap.
Green had enormous wealth at her disposal but failed to use or enjoy it. In the same way, Christians who have access to unlimited blessings often live like spiritual paupers.
In one of the great chapters of the Bible, the apostle Paul reminds us of our abundant spiritual blessings.
(1) The Basis of our Blessings.
God is the source of all blessings. He is the giver of good gifts. He knows our needs before we ask. He’s the great provider. All blessings originate with Him. He is the fountain from which all blessings flow. But the text is even more specific.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
Our blessings are “in Christ.” This expression is found 5 times in this chapter, and 12 times in this short treatise. It was written to “the faithful in Christ.” Those who “first trusted in Christ.” And who are “one in Christ.” To be “in Christ” is to enjoy a relationship with Him. And have access to the limitless wealth of the Father’s blessings.
(2) The Breadth of our Blessings.
Paul says that we enjoy “every spiritual blessing.” How many? ALL! Later in Ephesians 3:20 the apostle says that God is able to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think.” The greatness of God’s blessings are showered upon us in a “superabundance.” God blesses us in a measure that is beyond our comprehension or imagination.
God’s ability is immense. His power is infinite. And his desire to abundantly bless us is incompressible.
(3) The Boundary of our Blessings.
The sphere of these blessings is specific. They are spiritual. They are in the heavenly realm. There are many blessings that God graciously gives to all people. Jesus said He shines the sun on the just as well as the unjust. And provides the nourishing rain for righteous and unrighteous folks alike. But spiritual blessings are reserved for those “in Christ.”
The Christian lives in two worlds and operates in two different realms. The physical and the spiritual. The earthly and the heavenly. While we live in the world, we are not “of the world.” We have been elevated to sit with Christ in the heavenly realm (Eph 2:6).
This chapter reminds us that we are blessed that God chose us in Christ, adopted us as his children, accepted us and has provided “redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sin.” As a result, we enjoy spiritual insight into the “mystery of His will.” We have an eternal inheritance reserved for us in heaven. And it is guaranteed by the gift of the Holy Spirit.
What incredible blessings! Plus the privilege of prayer, freedom from the guilt of sin, a purpose for living, a guidebook to direct us, fellowship with like-minded believers, and a sustaining hope that overcomes the hardships of this life.
Don’t be a spiritual miser. Don’t hoard your inheritance. Don’t neglect the riches of God’s grace and mercy.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman