Do You Know the Difference Between Blessings and Chains?
Discerning a burden from a gift
It is a favorite ploy of the enemy to disguise the things that burden us and present them as blessings. In the following excerpt from my novel, Steward begins to realize that the gold chains he acquired during his years in Petitzaros may actually be curses, thanks to his newfound friend and ally.
Steward stopped and turned toward him. “Why was I blessed for refusing to go with you, if you are really from the king?”
“Blessed?” The knight bellowed the word. “Why do you call the rings blessings?”
“They’re gifts from the king for those who prosper in Petitzaros.” Steward refused to be intimidated…
… “The rings are not blessings but curses. They weigh down those who seek to use the Elixir of Mah Manon only for themselves. Didn’t the Phaedra tell you that part of the meaning of your name was to be generous with what you have acquired?”
How could the knight know of the conversation Steward had had with the Phaedra on the first day of his journey? “Yes, that’s what he said.”
“Then why have you done so little for the poor and those in need? I rode through the area where they live. You had so much. Why did you share so little?”
Heat filled Steward’s face as the answer came to him. “I…forgot about them, I guess. They were easy to forget about.”
Zedekai pointed to Steward. “Steward, your chains were burdens, punishment for choosing not to ease the burdens of others. The more you spent on yourself, the greater the burden of the chains became.”
Steward ran his hands along the rings making up the chain between his wrists. For the first time, they did feel more like links of a chain than rings of gold. Their weight had drawn Steward’s shoulders down and made his back ache.
His friends’ voices echoed in his mind. “That is the ache of power.” But as he thought about it now, Steward knew they were wrong. It was just an ache. (The Four Gifts of the King, Morgan James Publishing, 2019)
How often do we mistake chains for blessings, or fool ourselves into believing that what we know to be bad for us is actually pretty good? Here are a few examples.
- Do we pride ourselves for being frugal when really we are hording resources out of fear and greed?
- Do we value how hard we work for Jesus while letting that work rob us of time spent with Him to allow Him to work in us?
- Do we turn our desire to be responsible into an excuse to grab and hold on to control?
- Do we let our passion for building God’s kingdom become usurped by the temptation to build our own in the process?
- Do we follow His leading into a new position only to let our identity be formed more by what we do there than by the one who called us?
Fear, greed, busyness, spiritual stagnancy, control, kingdom building and misplaced pride are the wreckage of broken leaders who mistook them for blessings. In my novel, Steward had to learn that the chains he thought were blessings for his accumulation of wealth were actually the burdens that kept him from the journey to which he had been called.
How about you? Where has the enemy persuaded you to see as blessings those things God knows will kill you? Are you constructing for yourself chains of gold, or just chains?
Faithful stewards pray for the discernment to know the difference, to name falsehoods, to refuse the lies and to embrace the truth of God’s good intent for them. May that be your prayer every day.