Thanks to all of you who have already participated in the $10 Blessing Challenge. Obviously, you can participate whenever you want. I hope as a result of this month I will be more aware of opportunities to bless others.
I can’t say I had a particularly moving encounter or opportunity, but rather a lot of small opportunities to bless others that taught me some important lessons.
1) I left a gift certificate with the guy manning the Starbucks drive-thru window to pay for the people behind me, as long as the gift certificate would last. You might think, “People who are choosing to buy a $4 cup of coffee probably do not need you to cover it for them.” Here was my thinking: At some point in our lives (hopefully) we realize that we must pay an exorbitant price (for our sins). We come to grips with that, only to find out that price has already been paid. The Lesson? Grace. Blessing. Not a flawless metaphor, but if it gives someone a glimpse of grace, worth it.
2) I enjoyed that method of blessing (paying for something unexpectedly on another person’s behalf), so I began to look for other similar opportunities. At the zoo, I paid for tickets to ride the miniature train for the family behind me. Obviously, they were willing to pay the price since they were waiting in line, but I decided to bless them regardless. A smile. A quiet thank you. A chance to teach generosity to my 3-year-old daughter who asked me why we bought them tickets. The Lesson? Never pass up a moment to model generosity.
3) We met friends last night at a restaurant for dessert. Our waiter was forgetful. The service was terrible. I’m not sure if he was having a bad night or if he’s generally not a good waiter. We left a $10 tip anyway. The Lesson? A reminder that a small, kind action could change someone’s entire day.
4) Brandilyn Collins recently posted about a 16-year-old girl and her mom who have found themselves homeless. I read Brandilyn’s initial tweets and post and felt moved to action. Then doubt began to creep into the corners of my mind – is this a real need? is this the full story? is it their own fault?
And then the other three experiences related to this $10 blessing challenge (and one other discussion I had last night with my husband about the Extreme Makeover family in Keller) converged into one life-changing message: No one deserves to be blessed. Which means that no one truly “deserves” a blessing more than someone else. I often get caught up in trying to discern who deserves to be blessed. Sometimes I’m even bitter or resentful if it seems like someone is receiving a blessing when it’s not needed or deserved.
But that’s not a Biblical model of blessing! God gave us his Son, and that was certainly not deserved. Although we all need his grace, some of us do not need it more than others. It’s not like everyone needs 10 total units of grace, and some of us start at 8 and others at 2. We all start at 0. At the end of the day, blessing is not about the receiver at all. It’s about the One who blesses.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not listing all of these things I’ve done for a pat on the back or talking about myself as the one who blesses. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17). We bless because it points back to the Father, the One who blesses.
So I sent $10 to Katy and her mom through Brandilyn*. And I’m enjoying watching the Father multiply his blessings upon them. I’m praying for more opportunities to bless others this year, and that it would always be about Him – glorifying him, trusting him, pointing to him – and never about me.
Happy New Year’s, my friends. I hope 2009 is full of blessings.