Cursing and Blessing: Guest post by Marlena Graves
I’m in a very wonderful but busy season of travel and speaking. Rather than just post fewer articles here on Kindling, I have chosen to introduce you to some of my Redbud Writers Guild friends. I think you will love meeting them, reading their very good writing and experiencing new connections with our Savior. This post is by Marlena Graves.
Lately, I've been thinking in terms of blessing and cursing. I wonder, am I a blessing or a curse to my husband and daughter? Do I drain them or refresh them? Would they rather run into my presence or flee from it?
I also think about what I could do to bless those with whom I come into contact on a daily basis. It could be as simple as a smile or as disciplined as cultivating a welcoming and hospitable spirit—the Spirit of Jesus.
Have you noticed that all sorts of different people were drawn to Jesus? Children, the rich and poor, those of differing political persuasions, the mature and immature, Jews and Gentiles, male and female, societal pariahs, the educated and the uneducated—all types were drawn to Jesus. His presence was inviting and refreshing.
Jesus made breakfast
And do you remember what happened after his excruciating crucifixion and reality-reordering resurrection? He cooked breakfast for his disciples, the weary and haggard disciples who had deserted him a few days before. Instead of shaming them and demanding that they serve him, he served them.
Jesus cooks breakfast for us, too. He invites us to sit and rest for a while—to eat of the food he has for us so that he can restore our souls. I’ve realized that Jesus is always others-referenced, always thinking of how he can bless and refresh others (our part is receiving what he offers us).
But because I am not Jesus, I have to think of intentional ways to bless others while fully relying on the power of the Holy Spirit. I have to be intentional because I am, like all of us, naturally inclined to seek my own interests and blessings instead of blessing others.
Let's not fool ourselves
Do we bless or curse those within our circles of influence? Do we have any inkling about whether or not people seek to be around us or to avoid us? All of us have weaknesses that alienate others. Some of us are impatient and lash out easily; others of us don't speak up when we should. Perhaps we are self-absorbed and opportunistic—using others when we believe they’ll serve our purposes and discarding them like trash if they don’t. People pick up on these things. Let us not fool ourselves into thinking they don’t.
While we certainly are weak, we have a good many strengths, too. Here’s the question: are we using those strengths or are we too fearful to use them? We are robbing people of God’s life and blessing when fear keeps us from using those gifts. Satan delights in the burying and hoarding of God's treasures. When we fail to exercise our gifts, it's as if a limb or organ within Christ’s body is dysfunctional or even dead. And that's a curse both to us and others.
Jesus said that the greatest person in the kingdom will be the servant of all. Servants are usually in the background—seemingly invisible. They often go unnoticed and are sometimes mistreated. They do not call the shots. The master does. Attention is not to be showered upon them; it is to be showered upon the master. Servants are to be others referenced—focused on blessing others. Like Jesus.
In John 13, Jesus demonstrated the nature of a true servant when he washed his disciples’ feet. One thing we learn from his example is that we bring God’s life and blessing as we serve God and others. Alternatively, we curse God, ourselves and others when we are self-absorbed and self-serving. Are we a blessing or a curse?
What about you? Are you blessing or cursing your family, friends, neighbors?
Marlena is an "artist with words," writing about the Creator and his creation. She lives in Ohio with her husband Shawn and daughter Iliana. You can read her blog at His Path Through the Wilderness, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.