I was thinking about all my blessings and as this is the Month of Thankfulness I decided to do a search on 'Being a Blessing'. The following is bits and pieces of what I found this evening - surfing the net.
We long for the family blessing. We long for any blessing. We want our parents, our spouses, our children, our friends, our co-workers to bless us…to tell us that we mean a lot to them.
In the Old Testament, Esau, Isaac’s oldest son, couldn’t wait to receive the family blessing from his father. But right before he was to receive it, his scheming brother Jacob stole the blessing. Do you remember the story? Isaac told his son Esau that before he would receive the blessing, he needed to go and bring a savory meal to him. However, while Esau was out hunting, his conniving brother Jacob stole the blessing by coming to his nearly blind father and pretending to be Esau.
In (Gen. 27:31-34) we read about what happened when Esau returned from the hunt:
My father, sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing. His father Isaac asked him, ‘Who are you?’ ‘I am your son,’ he answered, ‘your firstborn, Esau.’ Isaac trembled violently and said, ‘Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him and indeed he will be blessed!’ When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, ‘Bless me too, my father!’”
For a father in biblical times, once a blessing was spoken, it was irretrievable. In response to his pitiful cries, Esau did receive a blessing of sorts from his father, but it was not the blessing of the first-born he had longed to hear.
The cry that Esau delivered is the same cry that can be heard, though often silently, from thousands upon thousands of people today who have never received the blessing from their parents, or from anyone else. But even if you have not received the blessing or even if you have not been giving it to others, it is not too late to start.
FIRST, TO BLESS OTHERS, PROVIDE A MEANINGFUL TOUCH
This was an essential element in bestowing the blessing. When Isaac blessed his son, he said, “Come near now and kiss me, my son.” Every time a blessing was given in Scripture there was hugging, or kissing, or the laying on of hands.
When we provide appropriate meaningful touch, we are communicating warmth, personal acceptance, and affirmation.
Have you ever noticed how often Jesus touched people… from little children to grown men. In (Mark 10:13-16), Jesus called the little children to his side…and the Bible says… “He took the children in His arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.”
Our tongues are created to bless not curse. They are created to uplift not tear down. When we praise…when we encourage…when we uplift people with positive affirmation…we are blessing them. So not only are we to provide a meaningful touch, but we are to shower people with encouraging words!
A meaningful touch and words of encouragement are important in the blessing. But the mortar that holds them together is an active commitment. Words are useless if not accompanied by action. A blessing is not complete if it is not accompanied with a commitment to see it through
The final chapter of Proverbs describes a woman who blesses her family in many ways. She is industrious and loving, has a positive outlook on the future, and is committed to her husband and children
It takes hard work to provide the blessing to another person. It takes time to meaningfully touch and hug our children when they come home from school or before they go to bed. It takes courage to offer people positive words of encouragement. It takes time and effort to help people achieve their blessing
To bless others, provide a meaningful touch, positive words of encouragement, and make a commitment to see the blessing come to pass
The Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Genesis chapter 12, verses 1 through 3
These verses are part of what’s known as “The Call of Abraham.” God chose Abraham and blessed him to be a blessing. His mission was to be the father of a great multitude, the one through whom all the people of the world would be blessed.
Non-believers talk about “blessings,” too, just as much as we believers do. But they mean something a little bit different. As best I can tell, in the generic, non-religious sense, a “blessing” is anything desirable that we have but for which we can’t take personal credit. That is to say, if I receive a surprisingly large bonus at the end of the year, it’s a blessing.
For us, blessings are those experiences and events in our lives that move us closer to God. Blessings come from God, we say, so that we’re drawn to God. In that sense, material prosperity can be a blessing if it moves us to give thanks to God.
Blessed are the poor in spirit... Blessed are those who mourn... Blessed are the meek... Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness... Blessed are the merciful... the pure in heart... the peacemakers... and those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.”
We don’t usually think of people who are poor, or who are mourning, or who are meek as being “lucky,” do we? Certainly we don’t think of people who are persecuted as “lucky.” Quite the opposite. We usually feel sorry for them. But in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus makes the startling announcement that he sees a sense in which these people are blessed; these people are happy.
These “blessed” ones, these “happy” ones, are people who have – like Abraham – been drawn by the events of their lives into such a relationship with God that they, in turn, become blessings to others. Their lives draw other people to God
How can we become a blessing?
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God
Paul considered these people to be a blessing to him. Every time he thought of them, he thanked God. They had made a difference in his life. Now he is going to share what that means to him. As the does, he will give us a couple of actions we can take to be a blessing ourselves. Look at what he says in verses 7 and 8:
7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. 8 God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus
We see in what he is doing an example that we can follow as well.
This is the first action step for us today. If we want to be a blessing, the first thing we must do it is…
Show Love For Others
There are two ways suggested in our text. The first way you can show love for others is by what you say–– in words. This is, in fact, what we see Paul doing in this passage.
He declares how he feels about them and he calls God as his witness. He says, "God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus." He was letting these Christians know just how he felt concerning them. And this is a good thing
We all need to hear affirming words.
You can show love for others by what you do–– in deeds. Listen to this from 1 John 3:18 (NCV): My children, we should love people not only with words and talk, but by our actions and true caring.
Words are wonderful but words alone are not enough. You certainly need to say that you love someone, but if all you do is say it pretty soon the one you are saying it to is going to get suspicious. They are going to doubt that you really mean it. And why is that? It is because you are not doing anything to prove it
What we need to do is to consider the little things that will be a blessing and do them.
So if we want to be a blessing, we need to show our love for others by what we say and by what we do.
But there is another action step we need to take if we want to be a blessing. We must not only show love for others, we must…
Pray For Others
The great apostle not only expressed his love to those for whom he cared, he prayed for them. If we want to be a blessing to other people, if we want to make a difference in their lives, we must pray for them. Prayer makes a difference.
Prayer for others is the obligation and privilege of every Christian
Pray for others that they would grow in love. Pray that God would replace any feelings of resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, and hostility with his unconditional love. Those negative feelings only ultimately hurt the one who has them anyway.
And we need to pray for those we love that they would choose the best as well.
And finally, like Paul, we should pray for others that they may do what is right.
Our love needs to grow, our priorities need to be in order, our hearts need to be right toward God, and our behavior needs to reflect all that.
Christians should view each year God gives us as an opportunity to be an even greater blessing to those around us. The older we grow, the more blessed our presence should be. We must be careful that the years don’t simply increase our litany of complaints or add to our list of ailments.
Let’s seal our lips against giving unwanted advice; let’s be available but not meddlesome. Instead of seeking how we can be blessed, let’s seek to be a blessing instead
Very wise words - all of them. I'm trying to be a blessing...
'On Ya' - ma