April 8th Devotion

What Are the Different Kinds of Blessings and How Do We Bless Others?
By Michelle Lazurek

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’ Numbers 6:24-26

Last month, I attended a memorial service for a former college professor. Many people gave touching tributes and testimonies to the man's life. But one testimony touched my heart. A woman who had been good friends with her teacher, talked about how much this man loved to give out blessings. Whenever you were in his company, he would end his time with you by laying his hands on you and praying a blessing over you. Being around him for many years, she adopted the same strategy. Soon, both would lay hands on people that were in their presence and pray a blessing on them. She called themselves “blessing junkies” because it was rare they went anywhere without blessing the people around them. Many people commented how loved and appreciated they felt after receiving this man’s blessing. Some equated his blessings to being in the presence of Jesus.

Blessings held such high importance in the Old Testament. Fathers often blessed their first- born sons in the hopes God brought them prosperity and a long, fruitful life. Blessings were intended to bring peace, protection, and joy to their children. God blessed many people around him. These blessings were so highly coveted that Jacob stole his father Isaac’s blessing from his older brother Esau. When Esau heard that their father Isaac blessed Jacob and not Esau, he was greatly distressed. Later, Jacob received an opportunity to bless each of his sons in a unique way.

In society, it is rare for people to bless each other. We are known more for what we are against, rather than what we are for. If we are to be like Jesus, we need to learn how to be a blessing junkie too. As Christians, we need to be known as people whom, when others are in our company, feel like they're in the presence of Jesus.

There are many types of blessings. The most common is that of verbal affirmation. People want to know that they are seen, appreciated and special. Some people never received this from their parents of origin. Therefore, they spend their adult lives looking for people who will give them the blessing they need to transition into adulthood. Be sure in people's company to encourage each person by pinpointing a positive attribute you see in them. It could be as small as giving a compliment to a person’s kindness to strangers or to a character trait that you find admirable. Say everything you feel about people to them now while they're alive. Make people feel special when they're in your company.

Additionally, financial blessings given to the first- born sons often meant the father wished financial prosperity upon them. In the same way, bless someone with the gift of your financial prosperity as well. Ask the Lord to help you identify someone who could use your monetary gift. Send it to them anonymously. Know your father, who knows what you've done in secret, will reward you.

Above all, love them. Although blessings are often verbal, a non-verbal blessing can be equally as effective. Identify a person's love language and speak it well. Do a kind gesture as an act of service. Hug people and let them know you love them. Spend time with them, letting them know they’re special to you. The purpose of a blessing is to let another person know how much they are loved by God and by you.

Take a cue from my former college professor. Allow every person to feel like they are in the presence of Jesus simply because they are in your presence. By loving others, you will find you are blessed equally in return.

Intersecting Faith and Life:
In what way can you be a blessing to others? Blessings are especially important, not only to the people you love, but also people with whom you have difficulty being around on a regular basis. How can you bless those around you, especially those with whom you disagree?
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