I’ve always found great encouragement and direction from God’s pronouncement to Abraham in Genesis 2:2-3, “ I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” It has compelled me to consider how God has blessed me so that I can bless others.  I’m sure that most of us have found that we are the ones most blessed when we try to bless others.  However, most recently, I’ve been surprised by what a blessing it has been to even watch others blessing those in need.

As many of you know I have the privilege of leading our church’s adoption and foster care ministry, Refuge 686.  A few years ago we decided to begin a foster supply closet at GRC.  The outpouring of clothes, toys, coats and other kids’ supplies was so huge, that this summer an Eagle Scout troop built us custom shelving and then organized these donations. This past Saturday GRC hosted a CPR training for foster parents and then had our first large group of foster parents “go shopping” (free of charge of course) in this supply closet.  As I watched them fill up bags and heard stories about their kids and how they’d like a particular item, it was such a blessing. Those who were blessed by God gave items to the closet and served by creating that closet that would bless others.  And they in turn were a blessing to me.  Blessed to be a blessing and blessed to watch that blessing.

As a foster parent, I’ve welcomed kids of a wide variety of ages from 2 to 12.  It’s impossible for me to keep toys and games on hand that would appeal to every age and gender of kids.  For my next short-term placement, I put out a call to some GRC moms to loan me activities and games that would appeal to 10-year-old girl.  One little girl from our congregation took it upon herself to pack a bag of supplies for me to borrow and included a stuffed animal for the little girl I’ll be hosting soon.  Attached to the stuffed animal was an encouraging, handwritten note.  The stuffed animal and the note brought tears to my eyes.  She gave out of God’s blessing to her in order to bless a child in need.  Blessed to be a blessing and blessed to watch that blessing.

So how about you?  How has God blessed you so that you can be a blessing to others?  Are you able to give away something that God has blessed you with?  It can be as simple as a winter coat or a pair of shoes.  Can you give out of the love that God has blessed you with and write an encouraging note to someone?  Can you give out of the skills and talents God has blessed you with and cook a meal or do handyman work?  And even simpler, can you keep your eyes open to look at how those around you are blessing others?  I can guarantee, you will be blessed as you watch others who are blessed to be a blessing.

Karen Jacobsen is the Director of Children’s Ministry & Refuge 686, a ministry serving adoptive and foster care families and children.