Not only does God’s blessing communicate our purpose, our meaning, and our reason for existence, it influences how we relate to others and how others will relate to us. It is indelibly a part of our very identity and our destiny. It has the authority and power of God to transform our lives. It speaks to each person’s true authentic self; it empowers and releases God’s unique design, calling, and purpose in our lives.

Blessings are prophetic in that they communicate the heart, mind, and will of God for an individual. They connect us with our Creator’s dream for us. Words of blessing affirm and empower ­God-­given intrinsic attributes, such as personality, gifting, talents, character traits, and intelligences. 1.4

When we hear a blessing from God through another person, it resonates deep within our hearts, our innermost beings. We recognize that the words are true and authentic, and they speak the truth about who we were created to be. It touches a deep passion within each of us to make a difference in this world.

 

The Power of Words of Affirmation

Sociologists report that even the average introverted person, if he or she lives to about eighty years old, will influence over ten thousand people. An insurance company produced a TV commercial that illustrates the power of one act of kindness. The ad shows a person doing something kind while another person observes her. The next scene shows the observer doing a kind deed, which is then observed by someone else, who then does his own act of kindness. You get the gist; it is an illustration of a kind of ­pay­-­it-­forward concept.

Notice that it wasn’t just one person, the observer, who was influenced. The first person’s act of kindness acted as a catalyst to all the other people’s acts of kindness. In a way, then, that first person was actually “responsible” for the actions that followed. The more I ponder this, the more I conclude that the estimate that even one introvert influences ten thousand people is probably much too conservative.

If you doubt that you and I really have that much influence, consider what happened to me not long ago when I walked into our local gas station to pick up a fountain drink. As I proceeded to the counter, deep in thought about the next chapter of this book, the attendant behind the counter exclaimed, “Ah! What’s the matter?”

His pained response shocked me out of my preoccupation. I looked at him and said, “Huh?” He said, “Joe, you always come in here with a smile on your face, and you always greet us. Today you walked in without so much as a ‘Hi,’ and you looked almost angry.”

Now, I was not angry at all; when I am deep in thought, though, I must look angry. What so caught my attention was how strongly the attendant reacted to my not greeting him and smiling as usual. It was another example of how we influence and bless people.

A more poignant example comes from a good friend, whom I’ll call Mary. While we discussed how affirming people’s gifts and talents is a powerful way to bless one another, she told me how she’d witnessed this for herself.

One day at work, Mary sat down at a lunch table opposite Betty, a coworker whom everyone tried to avoid. Betty always seemed down, and she was cranky and very unpleasant to be around. Mary couldn’t help wondering, since everyone has gifts and talents, what Betty’s looked like. As Mary thought about it, she recalled many of the skills and talents Betty exhibited in her work, some of which directly benefited Mary.