A SEMINARY PROF I know had one trick for shutting up his two little boys when they wouldn’t stop chattering. Especially in the morning, when he and his wife were trying to get them ready for school.
He’d lay a hand on their head and bless them.
He didn’t do that just to shut them up, he said, although momentarily corking them was an acceptable side-effect. He did it to express his love and his best wishes for their day.
Just a simple blessing. Something like:
“May God keep you safe today and help you in your relationships with your classmates and your teachers. And may God bring you home this afternoon even wiser than you were when you left.”
Blessings were a big deal in Bible times.
When Jacob found out that his dad, Isaac, was going to bless Esau but not him, Jacob actually stole the blessing. Isaac was nearly blind. So Jacob dressed up in Esau’s clothes – which smelled like the hunter that Esau was – and Jacob pretended to be him.
People in Bible times took their blessings seriously. They didn’t think of them as merely prayers or best wishes. Yet they didn’t think of them as magical spells, either. Something in between, perhaps.
The people seemed to think that blessings, as well as curses, could somehow change the future by invoking the power of God. It’s as though a blessing knocked a crack in heaven’s floor, allowing some of God’s good stuff to fall out on the cherished soul.
Blessing people wasn’t just an Old Testament thing.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t keep them away. The kingdom of heaven belongs to people like them.” Jesus placed his hands on them to bless them (Matthew 19:15-15).
I’m afraid that blessing people we love is a lost art.
Heck, we’re even afraid to lay a hand on a shoulder and say a quick prayer for someone we love who’s headed out the door into a tough day.
For many Christians, our lives are a blessing to others. People feel glad to count us in their herd as we pass through this life together.
Maybe sometimes it’s a good idea to not just be a blessing, but to speak the words of a blessing.
It has been a long time since anyone has blessed me in that way. In fact, I cannot remember a single time that someone has simply placed a hand on my shoulder and blessed me.
I’ve had people pray for me that way.
Yet I wonder what it would be like for someone to lay a hand on me and do nothing more than wish God’s best for me for the day and for the week ahead.
There’s an old saying. If you want to make a friend, be a friend.
Maybe, if we want to receive a blessing we need to give a blessing.
I’ll try to work up the courage to do that. It’s just not something I’ve done.
But it’s something Jesus did. So how wrong could it be?
Random book winners this week
- Jeffrey Stafford
- Lisa Hockenberry
I give away free books each week to randomly selected subscribers to my free blog and quarterly newsletter.
Jeffrey and Lisa are random this week.
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