Learning to Bless

It’s likely people say I bless them in one way or another, and maybe this is a frequent occurrence. While I’m grateful that I am a blessing to people, I realize I generally don’t go out of my way to bless, especially people I don’t know. Starting up conversation isn’t my forte. I know people who can befriend a stranger within the first five minutes of meeting them. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for me. Apparently, I need some schooling. Being intentional about blessing others is part of God’s lesson plan for me.

IMG_0186My family recently vacationed in beautiful San Diego, California. As we walked down the sidewalk near the harbor, I noticed two men sitting on separate benches, each with their possessions stacked beside them. In front of them sat a plastic cup for passers by to drop in money. We didn’t stop. In fact, after mentioning it to my husband, he hadn’t even noticed them. (That comment isn’t meant to put him down. He’s very task oriented, and we were heading to a specific location, and that’s where his focus was. There’s no looking around at people and things when we have somewhere to be. Ha Ha!) It made me wonder that those guys must feel invisible.

IMG_0179A while back, we decided to purchase some McDonald’s gift cards to have on hand for such occasions. We remembered to bring one with us on that day. As we walked back past that spot a couple hours later, one of the guys still sat on the bench. As we approached, I noticed he picked up the cup in front of him and dumped out a few coins that had been dropped in. I envisioned someone walking by, dropping in the coins and continuing to walk. My husband had the gift card in hand. We stopped, spoke briefly to him and handed him the card. My husband told him we’d be praying for him. I hope that action was a small blessing to him. We didn’t just drop the card in the cup and keep walking, but we offered him dignity by placing the card in his hand and speaking directly to him. I also know we could have done better by sitting down with him for a few minutes and having a conversation, or going and grabbing lunch for us and him and eating together. Intentional blessing is a learning process.

IMG_0173Through my work with Cru and GAIN, I believe I will have opportunities to bless people intentionally. Of course, the work I do as a writer for GAIN is an indirect way of blessing suffering people who live in some of the hardest places in the world. Closer to home, I pray that I am able to be more relational with people around me, blessing them with actions, words, and maybe even by challenging them to grow in their relationship with Christ.

A wise friend and pastor explained in a recent sermon that focusing on small changes eventually leads to big changes. He challenged our congregation to think of one word and a corresponding verse to focus on over the next year. My word is BLESS. What is yours?

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. I Peter 4:10

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