Last Friday I received a blessing. A package arrived with something wrapped in purple tissue and purple ribbon (I love purple!). When I opened it, I discovered a beautiful lap quilt in green, blue and purple batik fabrics. It was made for me by a friend from high school who lives in Pennsylvania. I didn’t need the enclosed card to know that it had been made with lots of love and care (and prayers!).
It wasn’t exactly a surprise. A couple of years ago Joanne and I were part of a “pay it forward” challenge, where we pledged to make things for other people. I was the lucky recipient of her generosity, and I in turn made things for others. Joanne was afraid that I had given up any hope of receiving my quilt. I hadn’t. It had come at just the right time. I had noticed that I was becoming cold sitting in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings, and I needed something to put over my lap and feet. The timing of this blessing quilt was perfect – God’s timing.
But the best part of the “pay it forward” project wasn’t the quilt I received, it was the things I made for other people. I made quilts for two new babies, and I had such fun choosing the fabrics and making up the designs. I crocheted rose petal hats for three other baby girls, and smiled when I saw each little girl in her hat. It was a joy to make them and give them away. Two teenagers in our church received wristlets – fancy gloves without fingers. They were delighted, and so was I. And I made a Batman helmet for one little boy, and a Cars hat for his brother. Again, I don’t know who derived more pleasure – the recipients or me. The real joy, the real blessing, was in the making and giving. As I created each item and gave it away, I prayed for the recipient, and I was joyfully at peace. I wished I could spend all my time doing just that, making things for people as I prayed for them.
Today I received another blessing. The young men who help us with our yard work for Teen Challenge, a program that helps young people conquer addiction and learn marketable skills. They are very nice fellows, and I enjoy making coffee for them when they come every other week. This morning they told me they wanted to bless me and brought out some solar lights shaped like dragonflies, butterflies and hummingbirds for my back yard. Last night when I went out to bring in the bird feeder trays, my yard was aglow with six beautiful lights that changed color from red to blue to green. I couldn’t stop smiling, and called my husband out to see how lovely the lights were.
I don’t share these anecdotes to brag about the blessings I received, but to tell you that the best part of blessings is giving them. I love making coffee for the yard crew, and getting to know each of the young men who are turning their lives around with the help of Christ, counseling and employment. I love making things for other people to enjoy, and picture them using the items I fashion. I pray for them as I work on the project, whether it’s a quilt or a hat. God gives us all gifts that we can share. “We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us” Romans 12:6
When we share those gifts we witness to the love of Christ that lives in us, and we draw others to Christ. We are the living testament, the only Bible some people will ever read. The blessings that might come our way in return are a lovely surprise, not to be expected, but welcome reminders of God’s love for us.
Dear God, We thank you so much for the gifts you bestow upon us. We ask you to help us share those gifts with others, freely and abundantly, always in the spirit of your love. Amen.