The Power of Blessing
And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:16)
"Bless you!" While we’re all familiar with this expression, our guess is that we are far more likely to hear it as a response to someone sneezing than as a prayer on their behalf. The supposed origins of the phrase are many -- everything from a belief that the soul left the body momentarily when someone sneezed and so you blessed them as protection lest the devil sneak in, to a benediction on someone who was about to depart this life having caught the ‘Black Death’ (a symptom of which was sneezing). But in the Bible, blessing someone was far more serious and powerful than any of this. It was not even the mere offering of "spiritual best wishes" (which it has often become for Christians today); rather, it was a powerful prayer of declaration based on the promises of God.
Perhaps one of the best known blessings is the one that Moses commanded the priests to use (and one that is still used in many Christian traditions): "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace" (Numbers 6:24-26). This was a purposeful declaration over people’s lives of what God himself had said he wanted to do for his people, and the priests were thereby saying, "Let it happen Lord!" And that’s what we’re saying when we bless someone: let what you have promised happen for them, Lord!
But it isn’t just our friends we should bless, but our enemies too. Jesus said, "Bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you" (Luke 6:28, NKJV). What a difference it would make in our workplace if, instead of holding grudges or trying to "get our own back," we spoke words of blessing over those who oppose us, and then do all we can to bring that blessing about!
Who know what a difference it could make today if we were to exercise the power of blessing others! Try it and see!
After spending some time there, they were sent off by the brothers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them. (Acts 15:33)
© Copyright 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont