Frequently, someone, often a clerk at a store, will say, “Have a blessed day!” I like that. It’s positive, encouraging, and expectant. But what does it mean? Is it just a friendly, even spiritual, way of saying, “Have a good day?” Well, let’s take a look at the word “blessed.”
“Blessed” is a uniquely spiritual word. The definition of “blessed” is “to be made holy, to be consecrated … bringing pleasure, contentment.”
In Psalm 1, where the word is used in verse 1, the literal meaning is, “Oh how happy.” The Psalm goes on to explain how one is to achieve that state of being blessed. “How blessed (Oh how happy) is the man (or person) who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers …” The first three instructions are, in a sense, negative. They have to do with refusal or avoidance.
One only has to watch the news or visit social media to realize that wicked people, sinful people, and scoffers are everywhere. I visited a page where three nearly 70-year-old men who attended high school together were lambasting each other over their respective social and political views. The conversation neither went well nor ended well.
I do not know if these three men were friends in high school but their conversation was definitely unfriendly and had to leave all of them feeling angry, frustrated, and resentful toward each other. I declined to enter this conversation. I have enough conflict in my life without being influenced by the internet shouts of others. It would have left me feeling discontented — unblessed, if you will.
In other words, those who would be “blessed” are to not believe like, behave like, or belong to the realm of “wicked men.” Not that these three are wicked. But, sometimes, our conversations, attitudes, thoughts, and actions can hinder our own “blessedness.”
I have almost come to the point that I do not watch much news on TV, whether that news be on Fox, CNN, or MSNBC. It all disturbs my sense of peace. I have had to “hide” or outright unfriend some folks on Facebook because of the vitriol and hatred that comes through on their posts — whether on the Left or the Right. Too much name-calling, cursing, and judgmentalism for me to “have a blessed day.”
But there’s also some positive instruction in Psalm 1 for acquiring and retaining this “blessed” state. The Psalmist says that the one who would be blessed will do thus: “But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law he meditates day and night.”
That is, one reads, loves, digests, thinks about, and lives out the scriptures. In Joshua, the warrior-leader is admonished to do the same and the promise is that he will prosper and have good success. He will be blessed. Joshua did so and became, arguably, the greatest military leader in the history of Israel.
The Psalmist declares that the one who fulfills both these negative and positive instructions will be spiritually healthy and fruitful — something in very short supply in out current culture.
On the other hand, those that decline to do so will ultimately be spiritually dead people who are filled with guilt. They will be “dis-eased,” discontented, unhappy, and unblessed.
It is also clear that those who are unblessed are in that condition by choice. It is always a choice to respond positively or negatively, whether on social media, to the nightly news, to the current political situation, or to the instruction of the Psalmist.
So, I appreciate the person who says, “Have a blessed day!” It is an invitation to do an inventory and ascertain whether I am blessed that day or not.
Am I contented? Holy? Consecrated? Experiencing pleasure? Happy? If so, then wonderful!
If not, then what am I going to do about it?
The world needs more “blessed” people. God knows that there are plenty of the other kind. So, “Have a blessed day!” I really mean that. I pray that you will truly be blessed.
[David Epps is the pastor of The Cathedral of Christ the King (www.ctk.life). He has been an opinion columnist for The Citizen since 1996, He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.]