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Jesus as the Source of Blessing
Jesus is the fountainhead of all blessing. If we don’t understanding that everything we have comes from him, we can’t be good stewards of his resources. The gospels make clear that our blessings come only from God’s grace, and John’s gospel makes some particularly important points on this matter.
Near the beginning of his gospel, John makes a wonderful statement about Jesus regarding his gifts to us: “From the fullness of his grace we have received one blessing after another” (John 1:16). This motif of Christ being the source of blessing reverberates throughout John’s gospel and unifies many of its narrative episodes as a whole. For example, John the Baptist proclaims that Jesus is the “Lamb of God” who takes away the sins of world (1:29). Jesus calls himself the “living water” and the spring of life (John 4:10-14). Later, he reveals himself as the source of blessing not only through words, but through his acts of feeding the 5,000 and raising Lazarus from the dead (6:1-14 and 11:41-43). Following the act of feeding the 5,000, Jesus calls himself the very “Bread of Life” (6:35). Finally, Jesus describes himself as the way, truth and life and the only way to the Father (14:6). All of these passages point to different aspects of the life and blessing to be found in the person of Jesus Christ.
Understanding Christ’s unique place as the source of all blessing is foundationally important for understanding stewardship and generosity for several reasons:
- The first point that we must recognize with respect to Jesus as the source of blessing is that he is sufficient. It is impossible for the immeasurable abundance of Jesus to be exhausted as a source of blessing. Though we might have reason to fear if there were only one source of water or one source of food in the world, we need not be afraid that there is only one ultimate source of blessing because in Jesus all the fullness of God dwells (Colossians 1:19).
- Second, Jesus’ being the source of all blessing shows us something about ourselves; that is, we are dependent. If Jesus is the only source, there can be no other. Jesus is the only one to whom we can look for safety and satisfaction. In speaking about Jesus as the source of blessing, it is critically important that we do not draw a distinction separating Jesus’ ability to provide for our spiritual needs from his ability to provide for our physical needs. As the source of all blessing, Jesus is both the Creator of the material universe (John 1:3) and the Redeemer of the spiritual world (John 3:16; Revelation 21:5). Because Jesus is the God of all reality, he is equally able to provide for the nourishment of our bodies (John 6:1-14) as he is to provide for the salvation of our souls.
- Third, Jesus’ being the source of all blessing shows us that our giving is responsive. We are not generous on our own account, nor do we have the power to make ourselves generous autonomously. Rather, we give because Jesus first gave to us (Matthew 10:8; Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 John 4:19). When we engage in generosity, we serve as rivulets that flow from Christ’s fullness. This truth has significant implications for the question, “Why do we give?” If we give so that we may be seen as a “source” ourselves, then we are encroaching on a place that Christ regards as wholly his own. However, if we give from a desire to respond to Christ’s love by channeling his generosity, than we are acting as members of his body.
Related Passages: Genesis 12:3; Matthew 8:3; 8:15; 9:1-6; 9:22; 9:24-25; 9:29-30; 12:13; 17:18; 20:34; 26:26-28; Mark 1:34; 1:41-42; 2:5; 2:10-12; 3:5; 5:34; 5:41-42; 6:34-44;7:34-35; 8:1-8; 8:25; 10:52; 14:22-25; Luke 4:35; 4:40; 5:13; 5:20; 5:24-25; 6:10; 7:14-15; 8:41-28; 9:42; 13:13; 14:4; 17:14; 18:42-43; John 1:16; 1:29; 3:27; 4:10; 4:13-14; 6:1-15; 6:35; 11:38-44; 14:6; Acts 11:16; Romans 5:17; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22; 15:57; Ephesians 1:23; 2:13; 3:19; 4:13; Philippians 3:21; 4:19; Colossians 1:19-20; 2:13; 3:4; Hebrews 2:10; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:18; Revelation 21:5-6