Yesterday we baptised three people with very different stories about how they came to faith, how Jesus has made a difference in their lives, and how they decided that it was good to be baptised.
We had one man who had only recently come to faith and told us of how his faith was helping him to cope with some of the difficulties he has in life. There was another man who told us of how he had gone to church as a child, drifted when at University and had found a fully fledged faith when he moved to Colchester. And then there was the man who is approaching his second fortieth birthday (his phrase) who had a special answer to prayer that led him to decide that he had to be baptised, having become a follower of Jesus as a lad in 1947!
Those brief summaries do not do justice to the way that they shared with us yesterday, and they do not give any sense of how special it was to baptise them. I said last week how much of a privilege I find it when I am invited to take part in a funeral thanksgiving service for someone. It’s also an immense privilege to baptise someone. I find it blesses me at least as much as it blesses those we baptise.
Isn’t that often the way with God? We think we are blessing someone else and he blesses us at the same time. In 1998 I was part of a team that went to Zimbabwe to help a church with a building project. I came back blessed. I have prayed for people and been blessed by their response. I have sent an encouraging email or text message and been blessed by how timely it has been.
I am sure that there is no direct causal link here. God cannot be reduced to equations. If you want to be blessed, don’t think that you will automatically be blessed if you try to bless others. God sees our motives and if we do things for the self-satisfaction we feel in those circumstances then that is probably all the reward we get in those circumstances.
What I am saying is that God is so gracious that when we do things on his behalf to bless others he also blesses us. He has more than enough blessing to go around!
What is this blessing? Gratitude, love, joy, peace, hope, humility, encouragement, hugs, and so much more – all wrapped up in the affirmation that God has been able to use us. Nobody is useless to God.
Be a blessing, be blessed.