THE PRIVILEGE OF BLESSING

On September 6 I read something in the devotional writing of Oswald Chambers that grabbed my attention and has stayed with me for over a month. In that day’s reading he observed “God rarely allows a person to see how great a blessing he is to others.” I’m not sure I totally agree with Chambers, but if he is correct, I am one of the rare ones who has had the privilege of seeing how God has used me to bless others.

After I stepped down from local church ministry in October of 2014 I put together a book entitled “A Pastor and the People: An inside Look through Letters.” The book included a variety of letters I received and wrote over the course of 44 years of ministry in four churches. Simply reading the letters gave me numerous snapshots of how God had used me to bless others. But even more than that, response to the book from people who were involved in those churches has given me even a greater sense.

Once the book came out I was contacted on Facebook by several who were in the church I served as Youth Minister from 1970 to 1975. The same thing happened with people who were a part of the church I served as Minister from 1975 to 1984. Many of the exchanges with people in those churches take me back 30 to 40 years!

A few weeks ago I was invited to write a letter of congratulations to a couple in the first church I served as a summer intern for their 65th wedding anniversary. What a privilege to be able to connect with that family after 44 years!

This past Sunday, on the anniversary of my last Sunday where I served as Senior Pastor for 30 years, I was invited back to preach. I was overwhelmed by the response of so many who welcomed Jan and me back, thanked us, told us they missed us, and assured us things were going well. Seeing how God has used someone to bless others is not as rare as Oswald Chambers suggests.

God has used me to bless others, but equally true and significant, He has also used others to bless me. The reality is that many of the ones He blessed through me are the same ones He used to bless me. And that mutual blessing continues.

Delighting in seeing how God has used me to bless others is not about self-promotion. I echo the declaration of Psalm 115:1, “Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory because of your love and faithfulness.” For me to think I deserved the opportunities I have had, or to fail to thank those who gave them to me, would be an expression of both presumption and delusion.

I hope you have had and will have opportunities to be a blessing to others. And I pray God allows you to see how great a blessing you are.

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