The First Rhythm – Generously Bless

We are thinking about how we might use the Rhythms of GRACE to strengthen our Outward relationships as households and communities during this time of lockdown, distancing and anxiety. Today we are going to think about the first rhythm: Generous Blessing.  

Generously bless

“Through you all nations will be blessed”  Genesis 22:18

We are a people who are called to be a blessing.  We seek to do this in practical and spiritual ways embracing generosity as a way of life.  Encounters with Jesus were often joyful events full of blessing, the wedding at Cana, the miraculous catch of fish, the feeding of the five thousand.  Jesus taught his followers to use what they had, even if it was only a little, and expect God to increase it.

This is an area where we are already strong!  There has been lots of blessing and generosity shown already over the last few weeks.  The responses to Blaze’s big climb and our call to pray about provision show that many of us are committed to financial generosity – thank you!  

God is already stirring our generosity, how can we respond more fully?  
Here are a few thoughts of what blessing could look like at this time.  

Small steps go a long way!  A generous blessing doesn’t have to be a grand gesture.  A phone call, a note through the door, a batch of cookies or a text that says I’m thinking of you can be very powerful, so keep going with the small steps.

In times of grief we choose to bless.  Many of us are coping with bereavement and loss, at a time like this blessing becomes even more important, but might look a bit different.  Choosing to stay in touch with and walk alongside one another, and our friends and neighbours in times of mourning is a very valuable way of practicing generosity. 

Without justice there can’t be generosity.   A belief in God’s desire to bless goes hand-in-hand with God’s justice.  It’s been so good to see Blaze challenge us to remember the poorest in our world.  Practicing blessing could look like standing up for those less privileged than us, in our own country and around the world. 

Prayer is blessing.  Our first rhythm connects easily with our second: Receive and Release God’s Presence.  Bringing some people in your neighbourhood or family before God in prayer and asking that he would bless them is powerful.  I remember the last time we dug into this rhythm and prayed for God’s blessing on our friends and neighbours. We began hearing stories of friends we were praying for getting new jobs, discovering provision and becoming open to the idea that God loves them – fantastic! I write names of people in the back of one of my journals and regularly pray God’s blessing over them.

Break out of the blessing bubbles. It can be easy to feel like we are being generous when in fact our blessing focusses mainly on our friends or people we know will bless us back. God calls us to bless all people! That means being thoughtful about finding ways to bless people who aren’t ‘just like us’ or might not immediately respond with gratitude. Ask God: who might I miss that you are calling me to practice Generous Blessing with?

How are you already practicing generosity and blessing?   
Are there ways that God is calling you to embrace these practices more?