2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
Paul wrote some wonderful benedictions in his letters. The thing is, he understood the possibility of conferring blessing through words. Our words aren’t powerful in themselves, but when we are committed and yielded to God, our words can carry the weight of His, and He spoke the universe into existence! (Genesis 1) Paul’s benedictions show that he understood where the power came from, because they are always rooted in the grace of God in Christ Jesus. In this particular instance, Paul’s words themselves go a long way toward accomplishing the very thing he is praying for his readers, because by reminding them of God’s love and grace and the wonderful hope that we have in Christ, he encourages and strengthens them to live out the faith they have. The thing is, we can do that too. Most of the time we don’t give intentional, verbal blessings, and that’s too bad. We miss some great opportunities! We shy away from even something as simple as, “I bless you in the Name of the Lord.” We aren’t so uncomfortable with musical settings of various Biblical benedictions, but then we don’t go around singing those to people, either! I believe God wants to pour blessing out on the world through the words of His people, but we block that for the most part. We need to understand that this is an important part of being used by God, and He wants to use every one of His children for good.
Talk about preaching to myself! I do give a benediction at the end of every worship service, and I am aware that it is as real blessing, but I don’t often give verbal blessings at other times. As a counselor I am very aware of the damage parents often do to their children by their words, speaking negative things that are effectively curses, and failing to speak encouragement and blessing, but I fail to apply that to myself sufficiently. Many people look up to and respect me, and my words have weight with them. I need to exercise that authority and fulfill that responsibility, speaking God’s blessings. That’s not to say I’m not to correct and admonish, when that is called for, but it is to say that my mouth should be a fountain of blessing, so that the works of the devil, that lying thief, may be torn down and people’s eyes be opened to their heavenly Father who loves them.
Father, thank You for the incredible privilege of speaking Your words. Help me remember that isn’t limited to sermons, so that I will be an available channel at all times for You to pour Your grace and blessings out on those around me. May my words always be “full of grace, seasoned with salt,” (Colossians 4:6) so that my hearers may be encouraged and built up, drawn closer to You, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!