This past Sunday I gave a message on Genesis 27. The entire narrative revolves around the idea of blessing. After a cursory read of the chapter, it seems a bit archaic, primitive, and outdated. The idea that a blessing would carry with it some sort of real power doesn’t fit with our post-modern materialistic worldview. It feels like magic or some sort of witchdoctor incantation.
Yet, we all know that words carry weight.
We all carry with us the power of words that have been spoken to us and over us. Some of those words work like a beautiful power within us helping us carry on and live into the full potential that God designed us for. And there are other words that work as an anchor for our soul, preventing us from walking in the abundant life of Jesus. There are words that we carry with us like baggage and there are words that we carry with us like fuel.
The narrative of Jacob found in Genesis 27 is about the way that spoken words shape human worlds. We can call it primitive and archaic, but we all know that it’s true!
In Christian circles, there is the common cliche often used, “be a blessing.” We often say it in passing or at the close of a church service. However, we rarely think about how we might practically bless the people around us. I want draw out three ways that we can actually BE a blessing instead of just talking about being a blessing.
- Encourage. The Greek word often translated as ‘encourage’ is parakaleó. It literally means “to call alongside.” I love that definition because it reminds us that encouragement is a deeply personal action. We cannot encourage in a biblical fashion if we are not personally invested in another person. And, we cannot encourage if we are not willing to share our lives with others. You can’t encourage in the full embodiment of the word from a distance. If we are going to call others alongside of us, we must be willing to be inconvenienced and we must be willing to be vulnerable. It is Paul saying, “follow me as ai follow Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). My guess is that there are people in your life today who could use some encouragement. It might be as simple as sending someone a text message, it might me setting up a meal with some fiends, it might be speaking some words that you know need to be shared. The hard part about being an encourager is that we must be on the look out for people who need some encouragement. Be on the look out today and step in to be a blessing!
- Discern. I have found that people have a lot easier time identifying things that they are bad at than they do identifying their gifting. Ask people to name their doubts and their struggles and you will have quite the conversation on your hands. However, when you ask people to share their gifts, they will struggle to point those out. What a travesty! Every person we meet has been created by God and wired for life in His Kingdom. Every follower of Jesus has spiritual gifts that they have been given for the unique building up of the Church. Do you want to be a blessing? Help people discern what their gifts are and what they are good at. This requires that we really see people. It demands that we watch people interact and with a prayerful intentionality we ask God to help us see the gifts that he has planted deep within the people who surround us. And then, when we see those gifts, we speak them over the people with carefully chosen words, symbols, and significance. In 1 Corinthians, Paul lists this ability to speak words of knowledge and wisdom as a spiritual gift God has given the church (1 Corinthians 12:8). The reality is, the people surrounding you are gifted people! Help them see it, help draw out their gifts, and be a person who lives as catalyzer of people stepping into their kingdom calling! I know that this can be an intimidating thing, we struggle with wondering if what we discern is actually the truth, but we will never know unless we step in and seek to be a blessing in this manner.
- Reflect. We aren’t great at telling people how much they mean to us. We also aren’t the best at sharing with people how God uses them in our life. What if you became the type of people who noticed the way that other people had a positive impact on you and then shared that with them? You would be a blessing. See, most every person you meet has a deep desire to have a positive impact on the world and the people they love. However, most people don’t feel as though they are having the influence they long to have. They don’t feel like they’re having the impact they long for because very few people take the time to share this part of their soul with others. We fail to reflect back to others the deep impact they have on us. One of the ways you can be a blessing is by reflecting on the ways that people have benefited you, and then simply sharing that with them. As I was writing this post, I got a message from a friend who did exactly what I’m talking about… and it changed my day! Take a moment and think about a few people who have helped shape your life, maybe in big ways, or in small ways, and then take the time to share that with them. It could change their day.
Be a blessing today! It’s not hard, but it does take intentionality. It won’t happen by accident, you won’t fall into it; but the effort it takes is worth it! The words you speak carry weight in the lives of the people around you. Speak life!