In this series, we’re looking at six essential practices for a life-giving small groups: remembering, listening, blessing, celebrating, mourning, and resting.
When we begin to remember all that God has done for us and listen to all that He is saying to us, we will be filled with joy and thanksgiving. The result will be a life of blessing!
The story of redemption is full of blessings. When God created man, He blessed them and said, “Be fruitful, multiply” (Gen. 1:28). On the seventh day, God rested and blessed the Sabbath. When God appeared to Abraham, He promised, “I will bless you… and you will be a blessing” (Gen. 12:2-3).
In the New Testament, Jesus told His followers that the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the gentle, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted are blessed (Matt. 5:3-10). Jesus blessed children (Mark 10:16), the poor (Luke 6:20), and those who hear and obey His words (Luke 11:28).
Further, those whose sins are forgiven are blessed (Rom. 4:7-8), for the gospel is full of blessings (1 Cor. 9:23) and every spiritual blessing is now ours (Eph. 1:3). And the eternal life in Christ is described as one constant blessing (Rev. 1:3; 14:13; 20:6).
As God demonstrated in the life of Abraham, we are blessed to be a blessing.
How, then, do we practice blessing in our relationships and community?
- We bless one another with encouraging words.
- We bless one another with friendship and genuine relationship.
- We bless one another by investing our time and energy in one another.
- We bless one another by caring for the children and teens in the group as much as the adults.
- We bless one another by cultivating a culture of honesty, forgiveness, and reconciliation together.
- We bless one another by praying deeply and consistently for one another.
When we acknowledge God is the Giver of all, we can be a blessing to one another because we are living for a new and higher purpose. God’s blessings to us enable us to hold everything with open hands and take a posture of generosity toward others.
We bless not in order to receive anything in return, but because we become more like Jesus when we bless others. When we are generous with all we have, it’s a reflection of how generous God has been with all people. We are blessed to be a blessing!
What would it look like to bless one another with your time and energy? How might you bless a struggling brother or sister in Christ? How could you bless your neighborhood by your presence?
Read Part 4: Celebrating.
Jeremy Linneman is pastor of community life at Sojourn Community Church, a diverse family of four interdependent congregations in Louisville, Kentucky. A graduate of the University of Missouri and Southern Seminary, he is the founder/director of Fidelity Coaching, a leadership development group, and an occasional writer for The Gospel Coalition and other sites. He and his wife, Jessie, have three sons.