When God blessed the socks off of Abraham (Genesis chapter 12), He said that it was so that Abraham could also be a blessing. It seems like all too often we want God's blessings, but forget that second part about being a blessing and blessing others. Several years ago I read about an incredibly brave pastor who decided that it was time us to remember to be a blessing. He asked for 100 volunteers, gave each of them $100.00 and told them there were 3 conditions: 1) The money belongs to God, 2) they had to invest it in God's work, and 3) come back in 90 days to report on the results. (The Kingdom Assignment, Bellesi, 2001, Zondervan, if you want to read more.) The Bellesis got some great results. We don’t have that many people or that that much available cash, so I decided to try it on a much smaller scale.
The first question was what group would be most likely to accept the challenge, and also think outside of the box when it came to blessing people. Snap! Give it to the kids…. Next was an appropriate amount to start with. And for a first time trial, we decided on $5.00, which we repeated this year. Then how to present the challenge in kid friendly language. Many people have heard about the Parable of the Talents recorded in Matthew 25 or Luke 19; we used that to set the stage for what the kids were supposed to do.
Kids are incredibly creative and loving…they see things that adults often miss. Their hearts haven’t become hardened yet, and when they see an injustice they want to make it right. Most adults have a lot to unlearn so they can learn from the children of the world.
Anyway, last year the kids accepted the challenge and took off running. Silent auctions, challenges, chores and allowances all helped bless the community. Shoe Boxes filled to overflowing for Operation Christmas Child, a donation to the Shriners’ Hospital, school supplies for children staying at the local Rescue Mission, and Bibles for the Chaplains at Hill Air Force Base to offer to airmen about to deploy. This year with partial results reported, candy sales led to a donation of food to the church’s food pantry. One family turned the challenge into a family project and will be helping the local Ronald McDonald House and SLC Primary Children’s Hospital. Another group of siblings pooled their resources to stock a 72 hour emergency kit for another family. They also included something usually not found in this type of kit: information on how to get right with God.
So as the kids experience the blessings of being a blessing to someone else, my hope is that they incorporate the experience into their way of life; that they never outgrow that capacity to recognize hurt in other people and the desire to do something about it. And maybe as our children learn how much fun it is to be able to bless others, they’ll take time to teach the adults in their lives. We may not change the world, but at least we can bring a smile to someone’s face.
You’ve been blessed, so who are you going to bless today?