Be a Blessing
I have to say, it's really great when people pray for us and minister to us. Who doesn't like it when others lift us up, encourage us, bless us, and bring us comfort? Anyone? Anyone at all? Raise your hand if you don't like these things.
Yeah, that's what I thought.
All of us like to be blessed, and for good reason -- it helps. There is nothing like receiving an unexpected blessing, or having our needs met in an unexpected way. In fact, sometimes, we need it. Sometimes we need someone to hold up our hands, or lighten our load, or encourage us when we are down, or assist us when we can't do it on our own. (Exodus 17:11-12) There is nothing wrong with these things, neither is there any shame in it.
However, every coin has two sides. And, unfortunately, some of us have missed out on the blessings that are on the other side of this one.
As much as we love to experience receiving, many of us have missed out on the sweetness of giving -- which is easy to miss out on. With all that can happen in life, it can be easy to become caught up in what is troubling us and forget that others have their burdens to bear also; burdens which we may be capable of easing, even if only a little, should we take the time to do so.
This is unfortunate, because in many ways, ministering to the needs of others can be just as good, just as uplifting, and just as much of a blessing for the giver as it is for the receiver. In fact, if we count the intangible benefits, we can often be blessed beyond what we give. (Hebrews 11:6, Proverbs 11:25-26, 2 Corinthians 9:6, Acts 20:35) But many of us don't give this side of the coin the chance it deserves.
This is why I tell people, if you need ministry, go minister to someone. If you need encouragement, go encourage someone. In being a blessing a to others, we ourselves will be blessed. (Luke 6:38) This is a principle that is not only Biblical, but can be proven in real-world circumstances. In fact, this is exactly how the Lord taught me this principle, and I can't tell you just how glad I am He did.
Throughout my life, there have been many opportunities to be discouraged or depressed -- and I'm sure many of you have had your opportunities as well. And, like many of us, early in my walk, I would hope in my heart that God would send someone who would stand with me, encourage me, even help me in some way.
It never happened. Instead, God chose to show me a different way of being uplifted. He chose to show me the other side of the coin. Instead of sending me people who would encourage me, He sent me people to encourage.
Sounds like an odd thing for God to do, doesn't it? It seems contrary to our natural thinking. If we need something, we often expect God to send us what we need, not send us someone who needs the same thing we do, and certainly not someone who needs it even more desperately than us. Nevertheless, this is exactly what God did.
Time and again, person after person crossed my path. And regardless of how I felt at the time, when they showed up, my heart would go out to them. I couldn't turn away from them even if I didn't feel like ministering to anyone. So I would talk to them, encourage them, and pray for them as best I could. And don't you know, by the end, when they were feeling better, I was feeling better as well. The things that discouraged me didn't seem to be quite as significant anymore. In fact, the more I ministered to others, the more encouraged I became. It's a true blessing of God which came in a way I never expected.
Fortunately for me, God never allowed me to dwell on what was wrong for very long -- and for good reason. The longer we allow ourselves to dwell on our problems, the larger they become in our eyes. And when our problems appear to grow in size, the more likely we are going to allow ourselves to be held back by them.
I can tell you, with all the opposition that has been thrown at me in my lifetime, had I allowed myself to dwell on all the negative, discouraging, and depressing things... they would have consumed me long ago. Fortunately for me, God didn't allow me to do that. But sadly, this is exactly what some are allowing to happen to them. Many are discouraged, and have allowed the circumstances of their life to drag them down.
If this applies to you, then I encourage you to choose to not allow the circumstances of life to drag you down any longer. Go out and be a blessing to someone else. If you need encouragement, go encourage someone. If you need ministry, go minister to someone else. Talk to people, pray for people, encourage them. If you don't know how to do this, then learn how. And then, when you've finished, watch for the next person God causes to cross your path. Keep doing this and before you know it, the problems that seemed so big, so insurmountable, won't seem so big after all.
We all like to receive -- and as I said, there is nothing wrong with that -- but, for our sake, and for the sake of others, let's also learn to give. Yes, there are a lot of needs out there. And yes, it is an impossible job for just one person. But God doesn't expect us to do it all on our own. He knows we aren't capable of that. None of us are called to take the weight of the world upon our shoulders. Instead, just attend to what God has placed before you.
It isn't as difficult to act on the opportunities God gives us as it sometimes seems. And often, it isn't as much of an inconvenience as it might seem. The blessings are immeasurable, and sometimes intangible. (Ecclesiastes 11:1-6) But even if we see no immediate benefit from our actions, at the very least, we are showing ourselves to be sons and daughters of the Most High God. Not only that, someone out there knows you took the time to help them when no one else would, and that alone can make all the difference in the world.
So in the spirit of what I just wrote, let me give you what I can. I would like to pray for those who have a need. And whether you are reading this on the day it is published, or many years later, simply agree. Our God is timeless, and because of this, our prayers can surpass both time and space.
Father, for all those in need. For all those suffering in silence. For all those in pain, be it physically, emotionally, or otherwise. For all who are lonely, even isolated, yet no one knows it. And for all those who simply need direction... I ask that You bless them, and keep them. Father, make Your face shine down upon them, and be gracious to them. And Father, turn Your face to them and give them peace.
Father, bless each and every person who reads this, and even those who pass it by. Let all be touched by You, and feel Your tangible presence. Let each be encouraged knowing that their Father, Almighty God, knows right where they are. That You haven't left them. That You have a plan, and You can get them through whatever they may be going through if only they follow You.
Father, let each one be assured that You are their God, and they are Your child, and that You will never leave them, nor forsake them. Assure them that You are bigger than anything they will ever encounter, and You know precisely what needs to enter their life, and what needs to exit, and when.
Bless my brothers and sisters in Christ richly, Father. There are so many who are in need of You. There are so many who need healing, restoration, and provision. Father, I ask that You meet every need, and even bring forth the desires of their heart.
But most of all, Father, may each one come to know You intimately. May they know the kind of God You are, and Your amazing greatness. Let each one recognize Your love and grace for them personally.
Comfort each one of my brothers and sisters in Christ, Father, and lead each one in the way they should go. Give them wisdom. Give them understanding. Give them the eyes to see, and the ears to hear your still small voice saying, go this way. And give them the wisdom and the courage to obey.
Father, You are God, and there is no other. You are the one who holds all of existence in the palm of Your hand. You are the way-maker, and there is no one else like You. And I thank You -- we thank You -- that You are such a God that would not only turn Your face to us, not only hear our prayers, but also answer them.
Father, to You be the glory, forever and ever. In Jesus Name we pray and agree. Amen, and amen.
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1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV) Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Galatians 6:2 (NIV) Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Hebrews 10:23-25 (NIV) Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
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