I remember as a child and to this day, my favorite part of Sunday morning service is the blessing at the end. Not because church is finally over, but because, I guess as a child I remember thinking about God's face shining down on me and I liked that. I still do. I have almost missed playing the "Amens" on the organ because I was so engrossed in receiving my blessing.
I was thinking about this for a couple weeks and something bothered me. We all know blessings are a good thing. But to just take, take, take seems a little selfish. I used to have a hard time taking something from someone when they offered. When they were trying to bless me, I refused it. No, no I can't take that, or I can't let you do that for me. But somewhere along the line, I started realizing that it was necessary.
At the coffee shop in town, I get to witness how it should really work. Frank is a 70 something man that is an icon there. He is there just about every morning. I walk the dogs to the coffee shop a few times a week (are you surprised why I named the walk the 'Frank Walk' to my dogs?). Frank comes out and gives the dogs a dog biscuit and when I mention that I am going to stop by later, he always says "I'll buy you one!"
I know that Frank doesn't have a lot of money. I do not want to take his money. If anything, I should be buying him a cup. A couple hours later when I am back, he is up getting me a cup of coffee the second he sees me. And he serves it to me exactly how I like it. It is humbling to receive this act of service.
I know this is something he has to do. I also know that if I don't accept his blessing of giving and serving, that I will stop the flow. What I see happen at the coffee shop is that somehow Frank always has a free coffee card or a buck or two in his wallet. Sometimes I get to sneak something to him. Sometimes he lets me bless him with a cup of coffee before he can get to me first. But I know that people that come and go there will pass along free coffee cards to him. So it comes full circle.
In church this week, the sermon was about stewardship. The readings were about the Parable of the Talents. It put the final piece of the puzzle in place. We are all blessed. How we take our blessings, be they talents/gifts, money, and what we do with them is what makes this come full circle. So if we take our blessings from God with a closed fist and just keep them for ourselves, nothing happens. Eventually you will be stuffed full of blessings and there will be no more room for anymore. But if you receive your blessings with an open hand, willing to receive and willing to give away, there is a flow. God gives and because of these blessings, we are free to give them away. This brings glory to God which is what we were made for.
The Lord Bless you and keep you,the Lord make his face shine upon youand be gracious to youthe Lord lift up his countenance upon youand give you peace.