A few weeks ago my 16 year old son pulled into the elementary school parking lot to pick up my littles from school. A woman got out of her car and approached my son’s car with a card in her hand. It was addressed to “The kind, caring, thoughtful gentleman…”. This woman had been actively looking for my son for days. For a little perspective…that parking lot is the place where nightmares are born. It was an act of great intention that she would be so relentless in her efforts to track my son down…and even more so that she would get out of her car, crossing hurried parents, in 110º heat…to show gratitude to my son.
Her actions that day were a response. A grateful response to my son’s intentionality to be a blessing…to total strangers. There had been a car accident the week before along the main road near our house. The accident was being cleared and many people were standing along the side of the road just waiting. While on his way home from picking up his brother and sister that day, my son passed by the scene, along with hundreds of other cars. But he didn’t just go about his day…much the same way the other hundreds of cars had. He heard God calling him to bless a group of people…and he obeyed.
He came home and got the brand new case of water that we had just bought the night before, stored in our garage refrigerator, and he returned to the scene of the accident with cold water for everyone waiting on the side of the road. It was a simple act of obedience…but it met a desperate need on that 110º day. And that one simple act left an impact grand enough to compel one woman to search for my son for days to show her gratitude.
There are opportunities to bless one another everywhere we turn. With the recent catastrophic events of hurricanes and earthquakes destroying whole cities and rattling the lives of thousands of people, our attention can’t help but be drawn toward efforts to bless our neighbors. We see the great need to help those who are hurting and in need every time we turn on the television or scroll our social media feeds…but what about outside of catastrophic events? What about in the mundane of daily life…when we become so intently focused on our own burdens that we become blind to the needs of others. Or worse…apathetic to them.
So I have a challenge for ALL of us today! Ask yourself…WHO CAN I BLESS TODAY?
I don’t mean just talking about or thinking about blessing someone…I mean actually blessing them. I mean action. I mean doing. I mean being the hands and feet of JESUS by actively pursuing opportunities to bless someone.
4 PRACTICAL STEPS
to be more ‘others focused’
in spite of our ‘self focused’ hearts.
It seems obvious, but if I’m not intentional about asking God each day to show me who He would have me bless, I grow complacent and remain self focused. If you don’t regularly ask God each morning who He would have you bless that day…start now! This one simple addition to your prayer time will be used by God to open your eyes to needs that you would otherwise be blind to. Ask God to show you a specific way to bless someone TODAY.
When you ask God a question…you must take the time to listen for an answer. So often when we ask God for something, no matter what it may be, we don’t stop to listen for His answer. God wants to communicate with us. He knows the needs of those around us far better than we do because He intimately knows all of our hearts. Sometimes when I ask God to show me how I can bless someone that day…He will immediately bring someone specific to mind with very clear direction on how He would have me bless them. I LOVE blessing people and I LOVE clear direction…so those are days when I feel so much excitement to be doing something specific that God has called me to do.
Other times it’s not so immediately clear so I ask God to help me to be attentive throughout the day and to be actively listening for the quiet voice of the Spirit prompting me to meet a need. It means being purposeful and intentional about staying near to God throughout the day and listening for others to express needs.
Whether your day has you out and about or whether you’ll be spending the majority of your day within your home…keep your eyes open. Actively look for ways that you can bless someone. It may be as simple as making your son’s bed so he has a peaceful room to come home to. It may be as quick as calling a neighbor on your way to Costco to ask if they need you to grab anything for them. It may be as time consuming as running to the store and coming home to make your husband’s favorite stinky pretzel snack to surprise him and thank him for working so hard for your family. It may be sending a card, offering to watch children for a friend, taking someone to lunch to talk through a hard situation, baking an extra lasagna for a neighbor, or visiting someone in the hospital. Watch expectantly for an opportunity. It WILL come.
This is where we so often stop. We see a need. We hear God tell us to do something. We feel the Holy Spirit practically pushing us toward the need…but we stop. We make excuses until we’ve fully justified our lack of response in our own hearts. ‘I’m too busy.’ ‘I’m too tired.’ ‘I don’t have the money.’ ‘I’ll feel awkward.’
What we’re really saying is, “No, God. I don’t want to.”
But what if we said, “Yes! I’ll do it!” What if we obeyed?
It takes intentionality. It may take a heart change. It takes a decision to look outside of ourselves. It requires something of us…perhaps time, effort, boldness, money, or sacrifice.
God may call you to a seemingly small and simple act of kindness that requires very little from you…but even in our little gestures, He can shower BIG love upon the one on the receiving end. God uses our small acts in big ways when we offer them for HIS purposes.
He may be calling you to an act of tremendous sacrifice that draws you to your knees for the faith to carry it out. If so, you can rest in the confidence that He will give you ALL that you need to accomplish it. With your heart submitted to Him, He will supply you with the time, the strength, the courage, the finances, or the willingness to sacrifice.
BE A BLESSING
So stop now…and take a moment to PRAY and ask God…with heartfelt sincerity…who He would have you bless today. Then LISTEN…hear His response laid on your heart. No matter how big or small it may seem…trust His answer. WATCH with your heart and eyes open to the needs around you. Opportunities to bless people are everywhere once you start actively looking. And finally, have faith and ACT on what God is calling you to.
So who can you BLESS and show JESUS to…TODAY? Ask God…He’ll tell you! How exciting is THAT?! So pause now, take a minute and ask God for your blessing assignment for today! Then share in the comments below what God has prompted you to do.
I’m off to the store! Time to make some stinky pretzels!