Good habits formed at youth make all the difference. -Aristotle
There’s no doubt that the habits of parents rub off on their children.
When our children were younger, my husband made it a habit to cook a good breakfast, an omelet or sausage and eggs, before they went to school each morning. When my husband travelled for work, our children began to cook breakfast for themselves. My husband didn’t know this. He would return from his travels and take up where he left off, doing breakfast again. It was some time before any of us actually told him that, he didn’t always need to be the one to make breakfast. The habit has rubbed off in other ways. Now our daughter and twin sons are all wonderful home chefs—baking bread, making soup, searing steak.
In the same way, God’s habits, as our heavenly Father, should rub off onto us. One of those habits is to pour out his blessings. God loves to bless us. His blessings stretch from the big blessings of sending his Son and forgiveness, to smaller blessings of a bed to sleep in at night and a meal on the table, although these can be big blessings too, depending on our circumstances.
God is the ultimate blessing machine, says Nicky Gumbel, pioneer of the Alpha course.
And as his children, we can imitate him in being a blessing to others.
Nicky Gumbel tells us two ways in which we can be a blessing.
- The first is to take a genuine interest in someone. Instead of looking after ourselves, we are to be concerned for others.
Taking a genuine interest doesn’t take much of our time or effort. Something as simple as a quick, short text message—”thinking of you today”—can have a huge impact on the recipient and turn around his or her day.
- The second is to show courage on behalf of others. So often we want to be courageous for our own interests. But to be a blessing to others we have to take a risk on their behalf. How much more will that person feel blessed when they know you have gone out of your way for them?
Perhaps you will have the opportunity today to speak up for someone who is feeling misunderstood. Maybe there is a need in your neighborhood or across the other side of the world where you feel you should step in and do something, but you’re not sure you have the strength or determination to follow through.
Read the words below from The Message Bible and use these prayers to help you be a blessing today.
God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out. This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.2 Corinthians 9:8-11 MSG
God, I thank you for your blessings that you give me in ways I don’t expect. Help me to remember these blessings are so I can be a blessing to other people, whether at home or elsewhere across the world. I want to be wonderfully generous realizing that every good thing I have comes from you and will never run out, and so my generosity will be a way of thanking you.
Think about the way God has blessed you. Then think about ways you can show a genuine interest in others and be courageous on behalf of someone when it’s a risk to you (write down one to three ways you can be a blessing). Talk to God about these opportunities:
Pray about the opportunity to be generous and encouraging to one person today. Perhaps by sending them a text message or leaving a gift on their doorstep
Lord God, show me one way I can be generous today. Bring to mind one person I can encourage today. Amen.
Where have you thought God has been stingy, or thought he withheld his blessings?
Lord, forgive me for: _________________________________
Where or how has God been generous in your life? Who has shown you generosity? Show your gratitude to God.
Heavenly Father, thank you for _________________________________
Did you follow through on the ways you could be generous in Prayer 2? Did you follow through to encourage one person you prayed about in Prayer 3? How did it feel? Write down your answers in this prayer.
God, I decided to follow through and be a blessing because you have blessed me. It felt