Making a Commitment to Blessing

Making a Commitment to Blessing

The ping of a message changed my day: “Let’s take food to a friend who needs encouragement.

“Well, why not?” I asked myself, and began pondering the joyful outcome that always arises from random acts of blessing.

I’ve always wanted to be an extrovert — or at least an optimist.
Failing at both, I’m thankful to be a Christian, for when Scripture presides over any natural tendencies I may have to hunker down and spend my whole life “ordering my private world,” I get to move outside my comfort zone and to make a commitment to be a blessing to others.

Blessed to Be a Blessing

The first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is a challenge I return to again and again with its strings of dependent clauses and its long stretches between end punctuation. I may not have it memorized Navigator-style, but this one thing I know from my stumbling repetitions as I walk these country hills on the business end of a St. Bernard’s leash:  God’s blessing (v. 3) and His choosing (v. 4), His acceptance (v. 6) and His redemption (v. 7) will result in an ultimate gathering (v. 10) of all believers and all things — in Him. 

Believers have been “blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” so that we can be a blessing to others and add to the joy of that future gathering. Having been blessed, I am called to be a blessing.  Given that God, in His providential grace, has already heaped up blessing upon blessing, my church family has designated 2018 as our Year of Blessing. We’ll meet to feast and declare it to one another, we’ll invite others into the blessing, and, most of all, we want to be intentional about it.

Making a Commitment to Blessing

My friend who got the ball rolling with this most recent project is operating out of blessing-based thinking that I want to emulate:

Don’t Wait for a Reason

We’re used to showering people with food when they have a baby or if someone in the family is in the hospital, but what about someone who lives alone on a snowy day in January? If God brings someone to mind, there’s likely a reason for it that only He knows. How wonderful to be on God’s encouragement staff and to receive private memos from Him!

Overcome Obstacles

My Blessing Mentor/Friend offered to be the liason for food delivery. And if our target audience has a freezer that is too small to accommodate the blessing, she has room in her freezer and will take care of the overflow in the meantime.

If the project you have in mind is too big to do alone, ask for help. If you want to help, but don’t know what to do, make a friendly phone call or visit and be a good listener and observer.

Think Outside the Box

Recently, our women’s ministry experienced some setbacks in arranging the details for our Christmas project. Usually we bless a struggling family with children by purchasing gifts, but this year our contacts kept falling through, so we fell back, regrouped, and ended up blessing a recent widow with gifts and a visit for tea. She would never have come to mind if our business-as-usual plan had worked out, and in the process we were able to meet a need that others were not aware of.

Partner with Others in Your Community

There’s really no way we would have known that this is exam week at our local high school, but a para-church ministry in the area knew and invited us to contribute snacks for the teachers during this challenging week.

A couple of courageous women in our fellowship teach a Good News Club at one of the elementary schools in the area, and it’s our privilege to provide snacks for that and to be on call to pray or to help in other practical ways. (This week a call went out for paper towel rolls for a craft project!)

Intentional blessing puts the love of God on display in unusual ways. He wants to be known, feared, enjoyed, and praised because He is gracious to all people, and often believers wonder how to accomplish this, how to make Him known. Practical acts of love, homely blessings that communicate caring are a bridge between hearts, and allow us to extend the blessing we have received to others that they, too, may “enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.”

What practical ideas do you have for being a blessing to others in your church and community?
What has worked well for you in the past?
Please share in the comments below!

Image by Unsplash

This post was shared at the Salt and Light Facebook Link-up.

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 30 years, and together they have four sons, two daughters-in-love, two grandchildren, and one lazy St. Bernard. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

93 thoughts on “Making a Commitment to Blessing”

  1. Thinking outside the box is such a good point. It’s so easy to do what you’ve always done. Intentionally going outside the walls of our comfort zone opens the door for Him to move in unexpected mighty ways!

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    1. And it’s just exactly what this control freak needs to do as an exercise in faith. Just this morning I was reading in My Utmost for His Highest that we need to expect God to move, but not to put limits on the way in which He moves. Somehow we think we get to dictate to God how to answer our prayers. 🙂

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  2. Our Bible Study group tries to bless those around us. We have a large population of mentally challenged members. We decided to get them Christmas presents. Nothing much. A few things each. They were so blessed. One man said this was the best Christmas he had ever had. It is simple things. Even if you have very little there is always ways you can give. Your time. A gentle hug. A cup of coffee. God has fully equipped us for the work he gave us. #abloggingoogtime

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  3. Michele, we are blessed to be a blessing. I teach a small Sunday morning ladies group at my church and our goal is to bless those within the group and those who are outside in our community and even across the world as we reach out to the hurting!

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    1. I love that! Me, too! And we’ve got a monthly thing going that’s been in existence since the days when they rolled bandages, and we meet to pray for our missionaries and then also try to accomplish something “practical” each month in the way of blessing. So good to hear that you are on the same lovely path with a group of woman who bless others.

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  4. ‘I’ve always wanted to be an extrovert — or at least an optimist.
    Failing at both, I’m thankful to be a Christian….’ oh Michele! This is good! Challenging me on this hunker down day… And describing my tendencies perfectly! Thank you for words.

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  5. This is one of my favorite things, Michele. It’s so hard for me to see a need and not want to fill it. Often times, lately, I feel so wrapped up in my own little chaotic world, that I don’t look around and notice enough, though. Thanks for reminding me to have “eyes to see.” — I love to give things, but a lot of times, I think it’s a smile people need the most. Or time. People need to know they matter. — May You use us, Lord, to this end. — xoxo

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  6. Dear Michele,
    Oh, how beautiful that your church family has designated 2018 as your Year of Blessing. Truly we have been comforted to share that same comfort with others. I will never forget the time that I took a meal to an elderly neighbor, who was not part of any Body of Believers, and she was in shock. She said that in her whole life no one had ever done anything like that for her. And I felt just as blessed as she did, to be able to show her what love in action looked like. Thanks for your encouragement here to keep looking for ways to share the blessing!

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  7. Organized and scheduled ministries, like arranging meals for new moms and patients heading home, have their place and are a great blessing, but so are the “outside the box” opportunities. I loved hearing about some of those. We so need to be walking closely with the Lord so we don’t miss those seeming off-the-cuff promptings.

    God has been working on me lately to be more hospitable – not in an inviting-people-over way, but just in having an open heart. I can be open and friendly when it’s time for that, like having people over or a fellowship time after church, etc. But when I am “on a mission” errand-running or reveling in some solitude at home and then get interrupted – not so much, I am sorry to say. Sometimes it’s good to have blinders on while working on something, but more often it’s best to be aware of and open to others and their needs rather than resenting intrusion to my introvert bubble.

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    1. Just had another thought. 🙂 Our former church had regular times, about once a quarter or so, that they’d visit “shut-ins,” and, as I said above, those regularly scheduled ministries are fine and God uses them. But, having my m-i-l in our home for 4 1/2 years now, sometimes those regular times can leave you feeling like it’s just being done because it’s that time of the year. And nobody wants to be a “project.” When someone goes above and beyond and visits in-between those times, then it seems like they really mean it – even though of course the people who visit at the “regular” times mean it, too, I’m sure. But sometimes the unexpected, outside-the-box ministries have the extra blessing of making the recipient feel, “Wow, somebody thought of me beyond the ‘usual’ time.”

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      1. So true. I’ve heard it before from others that they have not desire to be a “project” of the church. Connecting personally and “for no reason” puts that fear to rest.
        And thanks for going the extra mile here in sharing your thoughts.

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    2. Whoa, Barbara, you’re preachin’ and meddlin’ there! Hearing needs as opportunities for service and not waiting for someone else to form a “committee” is definitely a need within the Body of Christ. Thanks for saying it so well.

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  8. Amen!! Amen!! I am grateful to be retired and out of “full-time” ministry so I can play a more active role in the body of Christ in ways such as you describe. In my experience all these structured programs in our churches are wonderful and perhaps needed, but the byproduct can be that we don’t have the time, energy, or money to sometimes “BE” Christ in our neighborhood or with friends. I had a chance to make cherry chocolate chip scones for a neighbor who blew out our driveway multiple times in recent weeks while my husband was recuperating from cataract surgery. He refused money, but did not refuse the warm container of scones we gave him the last time he blessed us.

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  9. Your writing is a way that you share great blessings! I look forward to reading each one. There are so many opportunities to bless others when we open our eyes. Phone calls, cards, and visits mean so much to seniors who spend most of their day with no one to talk to. We just partnered with the women & children’s shelter at the local mission to provide gifts and cake mixes every month so each mother is able to celebrate her child’s birthday.

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  10. This made me smile, Michele: “I’ve always wanted to be an extrovert — or at least an optimist. Failing at both” I’m thankful God made you just as you are! I love the examples you share about how to bless others, regardless of our personality type. “Intentional blessing puts the love of God on display in unusual ways.” Amen.

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  11. Love your advice not to wait for the usual times to bless, but to bless anyone Holy Spirit brings to mind! I’m gonna have to remember that! Blessings!

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  12. What a beautiful thing your church has decided to focus on – and what a way to promote unity in the church. I love this: “Don’t Wait for a Reason”. I’m going to use that as I pray – God show me who to bless. He always knows. I have seen that time and time again. Thank you for always encouraging us to live out God’s Word. I know if I am left to my own devices I too am very selfish. So thankful for the convictions from His Word.

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  13. I’m glad you’re breaking out of your tendencies to hunker down and order your private world! (I can fall into that too.) What a beautiful idea to deliver a meal to someone. I often invite people for dinner in my home, but the idea of taking food (not just for a new baby or sick person) is lovely.

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  14. “I’ve always wanted to be an extrovert — or at least an optimist.
    Failing at both, I’m thankful to be a Christian, for when Scripture presides over any natural tendencies I may have to hunker down and spend my whole life “ordering my private world,” I get to move outside my comfort zone and to make a commitment to be a blessing to others.”

    The above is proof that we are the same person.

    I love your church’s mission for the year. I love that it feels uncomfortable but will also make you braver and more open. I’m going to do ONE thing today towards that purpose.

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    1. That’s such a helpful response — doing “one thing today” is so much more likely to happen than “I’m going to bless all kinds of people in 2018.” And, of course if we do #1, it’s more likely that #2 happen anyway!

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  15. I received a shirt once that said “Blessed to be a Blessing” on it. At the time, I thought of sharing my talents, my excess, my time, and my thoughts. I still think it is all those things. I also think that sometimes it’s sharing our sorrows, our hurts, how we cope when life goes terribly wrong with others as well. Giving hope to people who cannot always see the light.

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  16. I’ll shyly raise my hand to admit that I’m in that same introvert-always-wanted-to-be-an-extrovert category! The Lord uses my outgoing, friendly husband to reach down and pull me out of my comfort zone from time to time, and I’m thankful for that as it often leads to the unexpected blessing of my day.

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  17. Well, Michele, I’m just highlighting this whole paragraph right here –>’I’ve always wanted to be an extrovert — or at least an optimist. Failing at both, I’m thankful to be a Christian, for when Scripture presides over any natural tendencies I may have to hunker down and spend my whole life “ordering my private world,” I get to move outside my comfort zone and to make a commitment to be a blessing to others.’

    Hit home, hit right between the eyes. Thought-provoking and just a tad convicting for sure. As ever, thank you, my New England friend …

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  18. Blessed to be a blessing! Love that, Michele! You listed some great tips here. I’m especially fond of the “think outside of the box” tip! Sometimes we have to improvise, but it doesn’t mean we have to give up. 😉
    What a cool church declaration- year of blessing!
    Many “blessings” to you today! 🙂

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    1. I’m so thankful for the leadership of our church that has spoken this truth into thin air, and very excited to see what God is going to do because we are watching for Him to work!
      Thanks for reading, Rachel, and for your words of blessing this morning!

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  19. Wonderfully warm and wise words, Michele. I’m reading through Ephesians and just yesterday studied how Paul thanked God for not only the Ephesian’s faith but also for their love for their brothers and sisters in Christ. That made me decide to do loving things for other Christ-followers. It was that nudge that you are responding to in such a wonderful way, my friend! Thanks for mapping out how we can best respond to the Lord’s call each day. I’ll be sharing!

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  20. Michele, Thanks so much for your insights here. I don’t think I ever really thought about how the Lord fills us with blessings so that we can be a blessing to others. For some reason, I’ve thought of that only in the context of grace, but indeed He supplies us with everything we need to be a blessing to others.

    I like the actionable steps your church has taken to be a blessing to others. It sounds very similar to our church whose slogan is, “We are a little church with a lot of love.” And when my husband and I started attending there almost a year ago, that could not be more true.

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  21. Love this reminder, Michele, to step outside of our natural inclinations to live out God’s Word. A call went out in our women’s Bible study years ago to visit and bring food to a woman who was no longer able to leave the nursing home after at only 40 sickness stole her faculties. It was a way to reach out and love on her as her health declined. I’m so thankful I said “yes” to God’s prompting. Those weekly visits with Linda are treasured memories.

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    1. What a challenging assignment you took on, Crystal. I’m sure you were a blessing to her, and I”m certain, too, that you received training for more challenges by rising to that one.
      Blessings to you, and thanks for sharing an avenue with MANY opportunities for us to serve and bless a population with many needs.

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  22. Spot on, Michele! I recently filled my freezer with entrees four our family so I don’t have to cook for the next two months or so–the cool part? I’m able to drop off a dish or invite a family over as the spirit moves me!

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    1. Yes, I do that with soups and stews because they’re so good for people who are “ailing.” And best of all, we can act on the impulse of the moment and the good intention does not get lost in the clutter of a day.

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  23. Love the idea of making that “commitment” to be a blessing. So often we hope to and we try to, but I really need to start committing to it!

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  24. My prayer each morning is to be a blessing to all I meet & i am committed to that!

    You are most welcome to drop by & enjoy a lovely time of reflection with me with your favorite beverage & tasty treat. 🙂
    Jennifer

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    1. I’ve heard really good things about that program. And really enjoyed Nancy Guthrie’s books about grieving and how we can all be more sensitive to the needs of those who have suffered loss.
      It does not surprise me to learn that you were involved with this kind of ministry. So thankful for your heart of compassion.

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  25. Michele, I love that your church is designating this year to be a year of blessing. This requires us to step out of the comfort zones of our personalities, thus the means by which God changes us. Perhaps He will make an extrovert out of you yet 🙂 So grateful He gave you a heart full of compassion and a pen full of words to share with us all. Thank you!

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  26. I love your heart here. I especially love this truth: “I’m thankful to be a Christian, for when Scripture presides over any natural tendencies …” Oh, yes, I’m thankful for that too, my friend. Thanks for linking up at #PorchStories.

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  27. Michele, being a part of your blog community is such a blessing to me! I’ve been contemplating some ways that I can do more in this area, and this post is a gentle kick in the pants to get on with it. (Also, the thing about Paul’s dependent clauses and “long stretches between end punctuation” made me smile … which perhaps proves yet again that you just never know what part of a blog post is going to speak to someone.) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Blessed to have you here, Lois!
      I’m going to be benefiting from that same kick in the pants this year as our church incorporates blessing into our mission statement for 2018.
      And you’re so right about the “Ya never know” factor in blogging. Thanks for telling me what caught your eye!

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  28. I will be honest and wish I were your neighbor (with central heating, of course.) I will repost this on my hospitality group bec it is hospitality on wheels and richly displays the welcoming heart of God.

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    1. Wow! What fun to be invited into your friendly space — and is that a new picture I see on your page? focusing on greens? (Or maybe it’s been that way for a long time and I’m demonstrating my poor observation skills for you to see.)
      I have been greatly encouraged by your welcoming heart so often. Thanks for passing this along to your people.

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  29. I so relate to this: “I’ve always wanted to be an extrovert — or at least an optimist.
    Failing at both, I’m thankful to be a Christian.” 🙂
    It is good to be intentional and creative about blessing others- it makes such a difference. The church I used to be at did lots to bless a local school- painting some rooms for them, providing food for the teachers when it was parents’ night, and letting the school use the church building for their concert free of charge. It really strengthened the relationship as the school saw the church were blessing them without asking for anything in return.

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  30. It’s so easy to drop into a ‘business as usual’ mentality and forget to look up to see what God might actually lead us to do that is different and un-usual! Thanks for the reminder to embrace our call to be a blessing to others.

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  31. I, too, so would like to be an extrovert…but I am not. Nor am I gifted with hospitality but I am a Christian and I do want to be hospitable, loving and get out of my comfort zone that usually leaves me content….and overlooking all the possibilities to be a blessing. Big ways, small ways, simple ways. Your post was so practical. Convicting, too – but that’s a good thing. I am so blessed – but blessed to be a blessing. Thanks for the reminder – and the encouragement!!

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    1. I’ve tried to view hospitality as a non-negotiable, and it ‘s been good for me. People relax in a welcoming environment, and I cherish the friendships that have been built over the years through the tiny step of faith involved in opening up a door and firing up my oven. 🙂

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  32. Michele, I love this post. The topic of blessing is one that I’m exploring deeply in the research I’m doing for my book. Think of the impact upon our world if we’re living our days with the knowledge that we are blessed to be a blessing. You go, girl!

    Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party. I’m featuring you this week!

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  33. Like you, I’m often prone to be ordering my private world instead of reaching out in many of the practical ways you described. I do tend to be there when someone needs prayer or counsel as that seems more natural to me. But I’m sure I miss many opportunities to do other things.

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    1. I think we have to go back to our unique giftings, too, Donna, and to realize that God is going to work through our strengths. I just have to be very careful not to hide behind my weaknesses in the process.

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