One of the loveliest passages in the Old Testament is one found in Numbers 6:22-27. In this text, God tells Moses to instruct Aaron in the fine art of blessing the Israelites.
“Thus you (Aaron) shall bless the Israelites: You shall say to them,
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine
upon you, and be gracious
the Lord lift up his countenance
upon you, and give you
So they (Aaron and his sons) shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”
Those words were rolling around in my mind on Tuesday in the context of being a person who blesses others in my daily life. Why, I wondered, does Aaron have a monopoly on bestowing a blessing on people? Is it possible that I/we too could be conduits of God’s good pleasure to others?
My answer to myself was “yes.” Aaron is not the only one that can bestow favor on others.
So then I began to think about what that would look like. It would differ, of course, on the situation. But it would be a great pleasure to figure out how to intentionally bless others in my daily walk.
I visualized actually using Moses’ words. “The Lord bless and keep you.” Possibly making the sign of the cross. How would you feel if someone blessed you in this way? At the end of a conversation or some other social activity – The Lord bless you.
One of the things that struck me as I thought about this is this. People don’t receive many blessings in the course of a day. Most receive none. How much our world is in need of someone smiling and sharing the grace of Christ in a simple greeting or, better yet, in a blessing.
Blessings come wrapped in all sorts of attire: hearing that they’ve somehow made your day better, hearing a thank you for gracious words, and, of course, passing on a blessing of some sort. “The Lord bless you.” “God’s rich blessings to you today.” “I pray that this will be a day of smiles for you.” On and on they go – sincere, empathetic ways to show interest and intention. Never, never just a fake greeting, like “how are you” has become.
It requires no effort to be dour, mouth turned down, making people wonder what’s on our minds, saying oblique things, and telegraphing disapproval with our facial expressions. But the result of that approach is to have an unimpactful interaction with one of God’s children. Perhaps to even cause them pain or confusion.
On the other hand, to bless someone turns their world upside down and also causes them to see Christ shining out of you. It’s a nice way to live.