Encouragement and FaithPurpose and FaithSuffering and Faith

On our last trip to Israel, my wife and I joined a Jewish family for their weekly Shabbat dinner in Jerusalem. I’ll never forget the emotional moment during the Shabbat meal when the father and mother took turns taking each of their children’s faces in their hands, looking into their eyes, and blessed them with words, kisses, and hugs. I couldn’t hold back my tears witnessing the way those parents showed their children that they were loved, accepted, and supported by their family and God. And to think, those fortunate children got that meaningful blessing every week.

The Hebrew word for “bless” is barak, which means to share good, praise, or encouragement. Now that’s something we all want and need as often as possible. Children need their parents and grandparents to bless them. Parents and grandparents need their children and grandchildren to bless them. Husbands and wives need to bless each other. Friends need to bless one another, and the list goes on.

Too often, our culture immerses people in so much darkness that they feel discouraged and cursed, not encouraged and blessed. They need someone to be a blessing. As God’s children we are greatly blessed and have a responsibility and are privileged to be a blessing to someone—the checkout clerk, the bus driver, the homeless man, the gas station attendant, and anyone else God puts in our paths of opportunity. Let’s begin each day with this prayer, “Lord Jesus, Make me a blessing to someone today.”


What if we lived the lyrics of Ira Wilson’s famous hymn?


Out in the highways and byways of life,

Many are weary and sad;

Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife,

Making the sorrowing glad.


Make me a blessing, make me a blessing,

Out of my life may Jesus shine;

Make me a blessing, O Savior, I pray,

Make me a blessing to someone today.