By Joy D.
“And help us to be a blessing wherever we go” is how my daddy has ended most of his prayers since I was a little girl. He not only prayed this; he lived it. As a white South African ministering to the Xhosa tribal people in his own country during the height of apartheid, he had chosen to go where most other white South Africans of the time had not. And he had taken his wife and four little girls (another two were added later on) with him – not the done thing at that time! Whether ministering to the poorest of the poor, the highly educated elite, or just chatting with the neighbors, he and my mom sought to be God’s blessing in whatever situation they found themselves.
This attitude of wanting to be a blessing to those around them is deeply rooted in their conviction that they are the recipients of great blessing. The blessing of their salvation is still fresh to them these many years after deciding to follow Jesus. My daddy will still tear up when he talks about his precious Savior Jesus and the wonder of being included in the family of God. Day by day my parents are focused on seeing the simple blessings all around them. My mommy has the ability to see blessings in even the smallest things – a new bud on her favorite plant, the unexpected provision of the item she needs on sale, or the simple joy of sharing tea with a friend. Looking from the outside, one might not see them as “blessed’ as they are certainly not affluent in the eyes of the world, but God has always provided generously for their needs. They have buried two of their six precious daughters and walked through many difficult times, yet when you ask my daddy how he is, a common response is a sincere “I’m blessed.” His prayer of “make me a blessing wherever I go,” comes from the recognition of God’s grace and blessing in his own life.
The way my parents chose to orientate their Christian lives, and the fun they had doing it, has stayed with me. Through my own decision to follow Jesus and make Him the leader of my life, I learned that it is exciting and oh so worthwhile to be a conduit of God’s blessing. That blessing may be sharing the gospel with someone, praying for a sick friend, sharing my physical possessions with others, speaking a word of encouragement, or simply smiling and showing genuine care for the person serving me. I truly believe that I bring the light and blessing of Jesus into every place I go.
My family and I have unexpectedly and reluctantly relocated for this next season after more than 20 years on the field in Asia. In this time of transition, while also navigating coronavirus, one of the anchoring things in my life has been this simple, simple prayer: “Jesus, help me to be a blessing wherever I go.” I especially need this when the place I am at is not one that I have chosen or expected! And when we are mostly stuck at home without much “going,” how can I continue to be a blessing? To my kids, my husband, my friends, the cashier at the grocery store, my neighbors?
In my experience, continuing to cultivate a thankful heart is a simple but sacred path to living a life that is orientated toward blessing those around us. To be honest, I have experienced a lot of loss in the last four months, a story for another time. I could find many reasons to complain, and sometimes I do, but what keeps me moving forward are the deep paths of thankfulness that we have cultivated over the years — thankfulness for the blessing of being a child of God, thankfulness for the privileged of having relationship with Jesus, thankfulness for the many ways He has cared for us and kept us through trials and tribulations. These truths keep our family desiring to share the greatest blessing of all with those around us – the gospel of Jesus.
So perhaps today you might take a moment to recall the blessings in your own life and pray the simple but fun prayer, “Help me to be a blessing wherever I go.” Then see what adventure God opens up for you!
Joy D. was born into a local missionary family in beautiful South Africa. At the age of 21, she felt called to move to Asia, where she has been working and living for the last 23 years. She met her wonderful American husband in the country they were both serving in, married him, and they added two amazing children — now teenagers — to their family.