“Gem. Yes, that’s my name. G…E…M. It’s not a nickname. It’s not short for anything. My dad took one look at me when I was born and said, ‘What a Gem!'”
I’ve had this conversation more times than I can count. It is usually followed up with something like “Aaaaawww, how sweet!”
Growing up, I did not fully appreciate my name or its meaning. I just knew that it, along with my maiden name “Wheat,” could be easily turned into a nickname that degraded me down to a grain, the nucleus of a wheat kernel. Wheat Germ. Pre-pubescent boys in elementary school could not resist calling me this daily.
In the years that followed, and especially in my current season of life, my name is one of my most valued “possessions.” My name is the greatest blessing bestowed upon me by my dad. I couldn’t be more grateful. With the simple utterance of the words, “What a Gem!” my dad showed exactly what he thought of me.
Dallas Willard has said that a “blessing is the projection of good into the life of another. It isn’t merely words. It is the actual putting forth of your will for the good of another person. It always involves God. Only God is capable of bringing good to another. We naturally say, “God bless you,” and that’s right. You bless someone when you will their good by invoking God on their behalf. This is the nature of blessing. God wants us to receive blessing from Him and extend it to others.”
Blessing is the projection of good into the life of another.
I realize this may seem like Pollyanna-talk in the midst of our current culture. Just this last weekend 26 people were killed in a church service in Texas.
We are living in a time with rampant evil and disregard for humanity is filling our newsfeed daily. This is happening worldwide. We don’t even hear everything terrible that is going on. And what we do hear is now past the point of being unbearable.
Like so many others who are speaking out about this, I do not have easy answers. So, from my heart, I am asking us to continue to become people of blessing.
We can be present in our own very real lives. Day by day. Moment by moment. We can watch our own tongue, monitor our own anger and guard our own heart. And we can will the good of another. One person at a time.
As Mother Teresa said, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”
It’s that time of year when we begin to count our blessings and remember the things for which we are most grateful. We’ll gather with family and friends over meals. We’ll travel to see one another. One of the ways we can show our gratitude for having received a blessing is to extend that blessing to others.
Today, savor just one way God has blessed you. Then try “putting forth your will for the good of another person.”
Be a blessing. God is present. He loves you. Let that overflow.
Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash