May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face shine on us—
so that your ways may be known on earth,
your salvation among all nations. (Ps 67:1-2)
We are blessed by God to be a blessing. But what does that mean? It’s easy to think about blessing in big, heroic, spiritual terms. But that is grad level stuff. Blessing begins with much smaller things (even cucumbers).
Blessing people is practical stuff. It begins with knowing their name. It begins with trying to hear their story. To begin to know them as people. Learn a bit of their hopes and dreams. Their struggles. Relationship.
And then, there are things we can do after that. Words of affirmation are the simplest way to bless someone. Send them a note, write them an email, or text them. Let them know you’ve noticed something worthwhile about them.
Mark Twain once said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.” Take a step, and compliment three people this week. Make sure one in the church, and make sure at least one is not.
Another way of blessing is acts of kindness. Who doesn’t feel blessed when someone does them a favor, or provides some kind of practical help? Cutting someone’s lawn when they’re ill. Babysitting an exhausted couple’s kids. Helping a neighbor move into her new house. Exercise your soul and bless somebody else by doing a good turn this week.
A special kind of act of kindness, is giving gifts. That is another way to bless people. It might be some produce from your garden. (Yes, maybe even some of those cucumbers you have piled on the table!) A bouquet of flowers for the elderly widow across the street. A basket of fruit for the single mother struggling to raise healthy kids.
This is anything but life as usual. And it’s the lifeblood of the witness of the church.
I don’t want you to misunderstand me. This isn’t God’s program to make us the “nicest people in the block.” I don’t want to get in that kind of competition. I know I would lose.
But that’s not what it’s all about. It’s about living in harmony with other people. It’s about not taking offense when other people would. It’s about having a genuine interest in who our neighbors are as people. It’s about giving God some room to do a miraculous work through the Holy Spirit.
It’s not our niceness that moves the world. It’s the fact that when we genuinely love each other within the church, and begin to love the world around us, God has a special opportunity to work in the lives of the people around us!