22 February 2022

Blessed are the merciful…

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy… (Matthew 5:7)

As AFReG, we contemplate the God-centered values we espouse for Africa’s leadership. We realize that change in all of us is imperative if these values are to become a reality. In our prayerful reflection in this series of “The Beatitudes” devotions, we recognize that change may be a deeper appreciation of Jesus’ invitation to embrace the realities found in the Kingdom of God. Journey with us now as we acknowledge the “mercy” the Kingdom offers us in the person of Christ.

We should begin this journey by first acknowledging that to be blessed is not a condition of circumstances. “Blessedness” is neither a condition of character that somehow merits God’s approval nor garners divine blessings in our life as our reward. If we are honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that it is not in our nature to be merciful. If truth be told, actually being humble, meek, thirsting after righteousness or being pure in heart aren’t either! No, if our place in the Kingdom that Christ came to proclaim was based upon our actions or our character, we’d be many things, but blessed wouldn’t be one of them!

To grasp the mercy Jesus proclaimed in Matthew 5, we should first recognize that our blessedness rests solely on entering Christ’s Kingdom and being rightly related to the King.  We are blessed, not because we show mercy, but because in Christ we now have access to a King whose Kingdom perfectly expresses mercifulness to each of us in all of our inadequacies, dependence and weaknesses.

Mercy is all about grace. We have often heard grace described as God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense (GRaCE). Jesus’ proclamation in Matthew 5:7 is an invitation offered such that regardless of our character or condition, the blessedness of access to the King and His Kingdom is at hand. We don’t deserve that access; we can’t earn it and apart from it we are as lost as the night is long. Without His mercy expressed in His grace through Christ, we are left on the outside of blessedness looking in.

As our focus, prayers and ministry work are all directed toward blessing the African continent. Each of us has the opportunity to experience afresh the reality of a Kingdom where our heavenly Sovereign delights in both imparting His gifts…mercy central among them. Our prayer can be that this gift of blessedness might overflow as we extend His Kingdom invitation to all in need of mercy and His unmerited favor in these our times of greatest needs. May we each rejoice in this access to the abundant grace of the Kingdom of God which is now available as we find and experience the blessedness of mercy. For our good…and for His glory!!! Be blessed!

PRAYER: Father, we recognize You have extended Your mercy and grace to us in every aspect of our life. Oh Lord, we can do nothing without You changing our hearts. Help us to acknowledge how we’ve been shown mercy so that we might better extend that same precious gift to others as we minister grace with the African leaders. Help us to return to You as the source of every good gift as we pray to assist in Africa becoming a premier continent excelling in ethical leadership.