Excerpt from Living in Christ's Presence

I’m not sure when I first heard the phrase, Blessed to be a bless­ing,” but ever since then I’ve car­ried that vision of God bless­ing us with the gifts of His grace and love and then as those who have received His gifts, re-gift­ing them to bless oth­ers on their jour­ney. The source and the giv­er of the gift is God, and all we, as fol­low­ers of Jesus, have to do is to accept and receive; then re-dis­trib­ute to those near to us. 

In their book, Liv­ing in Christ’s Pres­ence, Dal­las Willard and John Ort­berg have an entire chap­ter called, Bless­ing.” I think it is a pro­found mes­sage for this sea­son of new begin­nings, and indeed for all sea­sons in life. The chap­ter begins with The Aaron­ic Bless­ing from Num­bers 6:24 – 26, and it is the basis from which their reflec­tions fol­low: The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gra­cious to you; the Lord lift up his coun­te­nance upon you, and give you peace.” 

Fol­low­ing are some brief phras­es to stim­u­late our think­ing and per­haps cre­ate an open­ing in our hearts and minds – to receive more of God’s bless­ing and then to more read­i­ly share: 

As fol­low­ers of Christ, we want to be points of con­stant bless­ing mov­ing out to every­one around us. That doesn’t mean we’re talk­ing all the time. Jesus promised that there would flow bless­ing from him through us. We do need to be able to engage that consciously.” 

What is a bless­ing? Bless­ing is the pro­jec­tion of good into the life of anoth­er. It isn’t just words. It’s the actu­al putting forth of your will for the good of anoth­er per­son. It always involves God, because when you will the good of anoth­er per­son, you real­ize only God is capa­ble of bring­ing that. So we nat­u­ral­ly say, God bless you.’” 

You don’t want to hur­ry a bless­ing…. We want to be able to put our whole self into our bless­ing. That is some­thing we want to be thought­ful about. We don’t just rat­tle off a bless­ing. It is a pro­found­ly and per­son­al and pow­er­ful act.” 

Bless­ing is an act of grace. It isn’t an act of indebt­ed­ness. We just receive it, but we have to have time to do that. We have to be able to be calm in our soul to receive the blessing.” 

Become a per­son of bless­ing: Imag­ine now becom­ing a per­son of bless­ing; imag­ine you and oth­ers being char­ac­ter­ized by the bless­ing flow­ing out from you. Our com­mu­ni­ties would be spot­ted with points of light from whom bless­ing flows…. Imag­ine becom­ing a per­son of bless­ing. That’s how you’re iden­ti­fied. …Who am I? I am a per­son of bless­ing. Bless­ing comes from me because God is liv­ing in me…just keep that bless­ing flowing.” 

As I think about their words and the title of their book, I believe John and Dal­las are shar­ing with us a gift, a reminder that we live in the pres­ence of Christ – who has mod­eled for us what Blessed to be a bless­ing” real­ly means. 

Pho­to by Tim Mossh­old­er on Unsplash of Col­or­ful Hands” 3 of 3. George Fox stu­dents Annabelle Wom­bach­er, Jared Mar, Sier­ra Rat­cliff and Ben­jamin Cahoon col­lab­o­rat­ed on the mural.

Text First Published December 2013 · Last Featured on Renovare.org May 2021

📚 The 2022 – 23 Ren­o­varé Book Club

This year’s nine-month, soul-shap­ing jour­ney fea­tures four books, old and new, prayer­ful­ly curat­ed by Ren­o­varé. Now under­way and there’s still time to join.

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