Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Be a blessing

I’ve been thinking a lot about blessings lately. Oh sure, we all like to be blessed, have someone unexpectedly show up to mow the lawn, take us out to dinner, or bring us a present. And we really like the blessings that come in the form of cash or checks- especially in large amounts. But somehow I don’t think that’s what God had in mind when He talked about blessing people.
I have to be careful when speaking of blessings because of the culture in which I live. The LDS church is big on blessings. Some of their members receive Patriarchal Blessings, they bless babies, they offer blessings in cases of illness. Blessings are a good thing, but I don’t know enough about the LDS church to know what exactly is meant by the term. Maybe they mean the same thing I mean, and maybe it’s something different. I don’t know, so please don’t read something that I didn’t write. Don’t hear something that I’m not saying. It’s a word. Some people use it one way, and some people use it to mean something else. Don’t get confused, don’t get upset. Just read and draw your own conclusions.
In their book The Gift of the Blessing, (Thomas Nelson, 1993) Gary Smalley and John Trent talk about the components of the Old Testament blessing. They write that the 5 elements include 1) meaningful touch, 2) spoken words which 3) express high value 4) picture a special future, and 5) entail an active commitment on the part of the person offering the blessing.  Pretty powerful stuff.
And all this because, like many other parents, I want to be able to bless my child. Don’t get me wrong, he has everything he needs, and probably most of what he wants; we do things and go places, but I want to bless him in the sense that God blessed Abraham, that Isaac blessed Jacob (instead of Esau) and like Jacob eventually blessed Ephraim, the son of Joseph.
I want him to know that he is extremely valuable in my eyes and in the eyes of the Lord. I want him to know it because I’ve put my hand on him and told him so. Teenagers often have an inflated sense of their own importance, so he may or may not need affirmation and confirmation – today. But at some point reality hits and he will realize that there’s more to life than what he thinks of himself. I want him to know that apart from what he thinks he is important.
Hopefully he’ll be able to envision the future that lies in front of him, a special future, that means he will accomplish great things, not just to make his life financially secure, but things that will have an eternal impact for someone else, things that will impact a much larger circle than just his family and friends.
It’s easy to assume that he knows I’ll be there for him; that I’ll support his decisions and his endeavors, but he knows, and you probably know,  a lot of people whose parents aren’t necessarily there for them. He’s only going to know that I am committed to him if I let him know it, if I do what it takes to tell him and show him that I’m committed to helping him grow into the person that God intends him to be: a very special person with a great future.
Special and great because God created him that way. As the Psalmist said (Ps 139:14) "fearfully and wonderfully made." 
God created a lot of other people that way too. Who do you need to bless today? Who do you need to touch and affirm? What commitment are you willing to make?
Bless someone today. Future generations will be glad you did. 

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