HOW TO BE A BLESSING

INTRODUCTION:

1.     An outstanding book came out several years ago, entitled “The Blessing”, by two Christian psychologist, Gary Smalley and John Trent.  This morning, I am going to share with you some thoughts from that excellent book. 

2.     Have you ever longed for a blessing but did not receive it?

A young man named Brian longed to receive a blessing from his father.  He just wanted to hear his father say “Son, I Love You.  I am proud of you.”

Growing up, Brian’s father was a career Marine officer.  His sole desire for Brian was when he grew up he would follow in his father’s footsteps.  With that in mind, Brian’s father took every opportunity to instill in his son discipline and the backbone he would need when one day he too was an officer.

Words of love or tenderness were forbidden in Brian’s household.

After graduating from high school, Brian did enlist in the Marine Corps.  It was the happiest day of his father’s life.  However, the joy was short-lived.  After weeks of attitude problems, which included a vicious fight with his drill instructor, Brian was dishonorably discharged from the service.

The news of Brian’s dismissal from the Marines dealt a deathblow to his relationship with his father.  He was no longer welcome in his father’s home and for years there was no contact between them.

During those years, Brian struggled with feelings of inferiority and lacked self-confidence.  Even though he was above average intelligence, he worked at various jobs far below his abilities.  Three times he had been engaged only to break the engagement just weeks before the wedding.  Somehow he just didn’t believe that another person could really love him.

He was suffering because he was deprived of the family blessing.

After several years of no contact with his father, he received a call that his father was dying from a heart attack.

He immediately went to the hospital to see his father.  During the entire flight he was filled with hope that now, at long last, they could talk and reconcile their relationship.

But when he arrived , it was too late.  His father had slipped into a coma a few hours before he arrived. 

The words that Brian longed to hear for the first time – words of love and acceptance – could never be heard.

Four hours after Brian arrived at the hospital, his father died without regaining consciousness.

After his death, Brian kept saying the same words over and over again.  “Dad please wake up…please wake up.”

His cries spoke of an incredible sense of loss; not only physical loss of his father, but also the emotional sense of losing any chance of his father’s blessing.

3.     We’re all like Brian.  We long for the family blessing.  We long for any blessing.  We want our parents, our spouses, our children, our friends, our co-workers to bless us…to tell us that we mean a lot to them.

4.     In the Old Testament, Esau, Isaac’s oldest son, couldn’t wait to receive the family blessing from his father.  But right before he was to receive it, his scheming brother Jacob stole the blessing.

5.     Do you remember the story?  Isaac told his son Esau that before he would receive the blessing, he needed to go and bring a savory meal to him.  However, while Esau was out hunting, his conniving brother Jacob stole the blessing by coming to his nearly blind father and pretending to be Esau.

6.     In (Gen. 27:31-34) we read about what happened when Esau returned from the hunt:

§         “My father, sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.  His father Isaac asked him, ‘Who are you?’ ‘I am your son,’ he answered, ‘your firstborn, Esau.’  Isaac trembled violently and said, ‘Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him and indeed he will be blessed!’ When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, ‘Bless me too, my father!’”

7.     For a father in biblical times, once a blessing was spoken, it was irretrievable.  In response to his pitiful cries, Esau did receive a blessing of sorts from his father, but it was not the blessing of the first-born he had longed to hear.

8.     The cry that Esau delivered is the same cry that can be heard, though often silently, from thousands upon thousands of people today who have never received the blessing from their parents, or from anyone else.  But even if you have not received the blessing or even if you have not been giving it to others, it is not too late to start. 

THIS MORNING I AM GOING TO SHARE WITH YOU THREE ELEMENTS OF A BLESSING.

If you apply these three elements, it will change your life and the lives of others.

I.              FIRST, TO BLESS OTHERS, PROVIDE A MEANINGFUL TOUCH.

1.     This was an essential element in bestowing the blessing.  When Isaac blessed his son, he said, “Come near now and kiss me, my son.”

2.     Every time a blessing was given in Scripture there was hugging, or kissing, or the laying on of hands.

3.     When we provide appropriate meaningful touch, we are communicating warmth, personal acceptance, and affirmation.

ILLUSTRATION

Most of you have heard the story of the little 4 year old girl who become frightened late one night during a thunderstorm.  After one particularly loud clap of thunder, she jumped up from her bed, ran down the hall, and burst into her parents arms for comfort and assurance.  “Don’t worry, Honey,” her father said, trying to calm her fears.  “The Lord will protect you.”  The little girl snuggled closer to her father and said, “I know that, Daddy, but right now I need someone with skin on!”

4.     God knows that we need the comfort and security that comes from meaningful touch.

ILLUSTRATION

At this time, I am going to show you a movie clip that demonstrates the importance of a meaningful touch.  The clip is about a teacher and his former student.  The student reflects back to an event that changed her life.

5.     The teacher’s meaningful touch saved that young girls life.
 

6.     Have you ever noticed how often Jesus touched people… from little children to grown men.  In (Mark 10:13-16), Jesus called the little children to his side…and the Bible says… “He took the children in His arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.”
 

7.     Also, on one occasion, Jesus reached out to a grown man who had leprosy and touched Him…cured him from the disease.
 

8.     My friends, people are starving for affection.  Our personal touch…whether it be a hug, a hand on the shoulder, a handshake…can make a difference in someone’s life.

II.             SECOND, TO BLESS OTHERS, OFFER SPOKEN WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT.

1.     Do you remember the line, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”?

2.     That saying is a lie.  Words do hurt.  They can hurt a person deeply, destroy a friendship, and rip apart a home or a marriage.

3.     You see, words have incredible power to build us up or tear us down.

§         The Bible says, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness” (James 3:9).

4.     Our tongues are created to bless not curse.  They are created to uplift not tear down.  When we praise…when we encourage…when we uplift people with positive affirmation…we are blessing them.

5.     So not only are we to provide a meaningful touch, but we are to shower people with encouraging words!

6.     In the OT, Abraham spoke a blessing to Isaac.  Isaac spoke it to his son Jacob.  Jacob spoke it to each of his twelve sons and to two of his grandchildren.  Esau was so excited when he was called in to receive his blessing because, after years of waiting, he would finally hear the blessing.  In the Scriptures, a blessing is not a blessing unless it is spoken.

7.     Have you blessed someone lately with kind words?  Have you told your spouse how much you love them and how much you appreciate and adore them?  Have you told your kids or grandkids how proud you are of them?  Have you thanked your co-workers for the job they are doing?

8.     One kind word can make a huge difference in someone’s life. 

ILLUSTRATION

When I was in eighth grade, I tried out for the basketball team.

If you would, take a look at my 8th grade basketball photo up on the screen.

Needless to say, I had many challenges to overcome.  I was short, skinny, and my hair was too long.

But I had a coach who blessed me.  He showed me how to play the game.  He told me that I was going to be a fine point guard.  He always encouraged me.

Not to long ago, I saw coach Weiner at a convenient store.  We talked and he told me a story.  He said that a parent approached him one day and said, “Keith Smith will never be a basketball player.  He will never amount to anything.”  But coach Weiner told her that she was wrong.

Eventually, I grew a little…cut my hair.  During my senior year at Duncanville, I was awarded the most valuable player in our district.  I received a basketball scholarship to play at Dallas Baptist University.

My achievement was made possible because of a coaches blessing!

9.     Let’s go out and bless others…we can really make a difference.  

III.           THIRD, TO BLESS OTHERS, WE MUST DEMONSTRATE COMMITMENT.

1.    A meaningful touch and words of encouragement are important in the blessing.  But the mortar that holds them together is an active commitment.

2.    What does an “active commitment” mean?  It means that we are willing to see the blessing come to pass.

3.    This principle is what the apostle James wants us to understand in his letter.  There we read:

§         “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit” (James 2:15-16).

4.    Words are useless if not accompanied by action.  A blessing is not complete if it is not accompanied with a commitment to see it through.

5.    For example, my coach not only blessed me with encouraging words, he showed me how to play the game.  He taught me how to shoot, how to pass, how to be a leader on the court.  He committed his time and effort to ensure that my blessing became a reality. There is no doubt about it, commitment, which is necessary for a blessing, takes time and effort.  We must invest energy to see the blessing become a reality in people’s lives.

6.    The final chapter of Proverbs describes a woman who blesses her family in many ways.  She is industrious and loving, has a positive outlook on the future, and is committed to her husband and children.

7.    Did she just happen to be born this way?  Certainly not.  Each of these qualities was developed at a price.  What is often skipped over when this message is taught is how often this woman was up at dawn and how hard she worked to bless her family with her actions and words.  Was it really worth the effort for this women?  Listen to what her family had to say about her and her decision to make a genuine commitment to them: “Her children rise up and call her blessed; / Her husband also, and he praises her:/Many daughters have done well,/But you excel them all” (Prov. 31:28-29).

8.    It takes hard work to provide the blessing to another person.  It takes time to meaningfully touch and hug our children when they come home from school or before they go to bed.  It takes courage to offer people positive words of encouragement.  It takes time and effort to help people achieve their blessing.
 

9.    But one day, perhaps years later, that blessing will return.  Your children and grandchildren will rise up and bless you.  What’s more, your joy at seeing another person’s life bloom and grow because of your blessing. 

CONCLUSION:

1.    In closing, God wants us to bless others (Rom. 12:14).

2.    To bless others, provide a meaningful tough, positive words of encouragement, and make a commitment to see the blessing come to pass.

3.    May the Lord bless you in your effort to bless others.