Most Christians understand the principle of being “blessed to be a blessing” (Genesis 12:2-3): that one of the reasons God blesses us is to enable us to help others; but many of us limit the understanding of that principle to financial and material blessings. Those things are certainly an important part of our giving, but we do not need to stop there. While we may acknowledge intellectually that life is much more than just money and material things, it’s sometimes hard to really apply that understanding as we should. Often we do not see blessings that we can share with others because we do not always think of them as an abundance of something that other people need.
The apostle Paul stresses our ability to help others in a number of non-material ways – beyond sharing the truth with them – and perhaps nowhere more so than in his letters to the Galatians and Romans where we find similar themes expounded. Here are four non-material blessings to which Paul alludes directly or indirectly in those letters – gifts that we can share with others:
Time: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10). We may know this scripture well, but we don’t always equate opportunity with time. Are you retired? Between jobs? Have some time on your hands? Ask yourself to what extent you give of the time you have and think about how you can share the blessing of time you have been given.
Health: “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves” (Romans 15:1). Paul’s mention of this principle is in a wider context than just physical health, but it does apply there. Do you enjoy good health – or even reasonably good health? Ask yourself to what extent you give of the health you have and think about how you can share the blessing of health you have been given. It could be in service or in simple encouragement to those in poor health.
Skills: “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us…” (Romans 12:6). Although Paul is talking primarily about spiritual gifts in Romans 12, the principle applies in other areas, just as he speaks of gifts of teaching, giving and leading (vss. 7-8). Do you have specialized knowledge or training in an area with which you can help others? If you have medical, financial or legal training there are a number of ways you can help those in need, but there are many other types of knowledge that can be shared by helping those without the training you may have.
Peace of mind: “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Romans 14:19). Primarily, in this verse, Paul is speaking about peace as the opposite of strife, yet the principle can be applied to the “mutual edification” that comes from helping others to develop the peace of mind we may have. Peace of mind means a simple absence of warring emotions, doubts and fears. If we have that blessing, it is one we can share if we look for opportunities to do so.
These are just some basic areas in which we can share the non-material blessings we have. Even if we are poor, we may have time we can give. If we do not have enough time, we may have health we can share; if not enough health, we may have knowledge or skills we can use to help others. Even if we have none of these things, if we have peace of mind, that is in itself a blessing that we can share with others. We just need to get into the habit of seeing the blessings we have and asking ourselves what we can do to share those non-material things – to fulfill the purpose of being blessed to be a blessing to others.