You remember our labor and toil, brothers and sisters; we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how pure, upright, and blameless our conduct was towards you believers. As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, urging and encouraging you and pleading that you should lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God's word, which is also at work in you believers.
We are in our final week of exploring what it means to add just 5-15 minutes a day of sharing faith with our families and friends from home. To catch us up on Rich Melheim’s Faith5, we 1. share (highs and lows), 2. read (a story from scripture), 3. talk (about why it matters), 4. pray (for each other), and finally today, maybe the most powerful of all: 5. we bless.
I love this line of Paul’s, “We constantly give thanks to God- that when you heard the word of God from us, you knew it was more than human speech, it was God speaking into your life.” What we say to each other matters a lot. Throw-away words are not a thing that exist in human relationships. Think for a minute about the last hurtful thing someone said to you. You remember it, right? You maybe even feel the emotion of that moment. Words matter- and how we use our voices with one another has a powerful impact on who we become. Both as individuals and as a family. I’d like us to think more broadly than our immediate families as well- to this church family. What we say matters.
We all have patterns of speaking with each other, whether we are mindful of them or not. And today the invitation is for us to be mindful of how our words are not just mere human speech. As believers, we are also ambassadors of God, and when we talk- whether we mean to or not, people will perceive us as God’s messengers.
That’s kind of a lot of pressure, right? Oh boy! Now don’t let your mind go down the rabbit hole of all the ways you haven’t been mindful of your speech, unless there’s an apology you need to offer, of course. We all have guilt in this arena, it’s time to let it go. Instead, let’s focus on what we do with our voices from now on. The spiritual life is about constantly paying attention to where God is leading us next. So let’s be led into a way of blessing.
What do I mean when I say, ‘we bless?’ It’s as simple and profound as this: We tell each other that we are a blessing. From God to others. And HOW we say this takes on as many expressions as we have creativity to produce. The simplest way, the one our SS kids are taught here, is this: “You are a blessing.” That’s it! And with consent, it often involves a tender touch on the forehead or hand. Only when we receive the good news of blessing will our identities be shaped in wholeness and love. And only from a place of wholeness can we offer others the blessing that is due them.
This week, AJ put Briggs, our 6 year-old, to bed, which meant he also got to bless him. (that’s when we do our final step in the Faith5 routine). But before that could happen, Briggs asks daddy, “will you say nice things about me, daddy?” “Like what?” AJ asks, “Oh, everything,” Briggs responds, matter of factly. After Aj told me about this conversation, I said, “See? We’re teaching our kids emotional intelligence- asking for what they need.” We’re also teaching Briggs spiritual intelligence, ending his day by reflecting on all the good he brings this world in the name of his Creator. That’s the blessing at work. And it instills in us the confidence to be God’s voice of blessing to others.
Rich Melheim- the power of a blessing.
Our kids express the moment of blessing a little differently, Briggs is a little more eager to receive the blessing, and Blaire insists every night on returning a blessing to her mommy. Here’s the one she usually offers me: “You are a blessing, you are from God and Jesus in heaven, Amen.”
Friends, I am thoroughly convinced that what the world needs most from us right now is more blessing. Let’s be that blessing. Let’s give and receive the knowledge that God’s goodness exists in us all, created for the healing of a hurting world.