By Tim Lehmann
Our son Benji was about to turn one year old. Benji was our first child and he brought such great happiness to my wife Susan and me. He had an infectious laugh, a huge smile and he was a wonderful beginning to our family. Benji was quite popular with our friends and family and he had all the toys, books and things that make noise that a one year old could dream of. I wondered what to get him for that day that marked his first year of life.
We had been unemployed for several months and were just settling into a new job, new home and new community several hundred miles from where we used to call home. Life had taken some unexpected turns for our family beginning the day of Benji’s birth. So not only were we feeling a little tenuous but the thoughts of superficial niceties gave way to deeper questions about life.
As I considered a gift choice for this precious boy on his first birthday I wanted it to be something more than a computerized piece of plastic that he would have fun with for fifteen minutes and then become even more enthralled with the box it came in. This was a special day in the life of our son, I wanted something that he could have forever. But there are not many things that are as meaningful on the day you turn one as they are 60 years later.
There was something though. . .
A blessing. A blessing for his life that would look at the little personality that was already forming and speak words of hope, encouragement and direction. Words that would envelope him and guide him no matter what his age. Words that would guide him, hold him up, set his feet on a course that would help shape the course of his life and the life of those he touched.
I thought back to a Bible story I’d heard all my life. It was a story about one boy cheating his brother out of a blessing. That blessing not only shaped the life of those two men but it makes news headlines almost daily today. Those news stories about the Jordanian conflict can be traced back thousands of years to two boys and a dying father. The nation of Israel, the patriarchal tribes of that nation and the birth of Jesus Christ can all be traced to that blessing and to a blessing given two generations earlier to their great-grandfather, Abraham. And the story is not even close to being completed. I realized that a blessing is a powerful thing.
Several years ago two men, Gary Smalley and John Trent collaborated in a book about the blessing of parents conferred on children, not necessarily in a verbal form but a blessing less formally articulated. They chronicled the effects of the blessing on people throughout their lifetimes. I wanted something for Benji that would last so I sat down at the computer and began composing.
May you be strong, bold and courageous
Living your life with purpose and direction
filled with the joy of laughter.
May you hear the voice of God
See with the eyes of God
Love with the heart of God
And follow the hand of God
All the days of your life
May He grant you wisdom and understanding
May your mind be clear and your heart pure
That you may reason with wisdom and act with passion.
May others find in you a tower of wisdom
An open door of mercy
A hearth of love
The light of hope
A fountain of joy
And a sanctuary of peace.
May God grant you the desires of your heart
As you pursue Him with all your heart
And your mind
And your soul
And your strength.
May He be your ultimate delight.
May God's blessings flow like a mountain stream
Pure and refreshing in never ending supply out of His abundance
May He enlarge your boundaries for his name's sake
And may people of all nations be blessed because of His greatness through you.
May His hand be with you and keep you from evil that you will not cause pain.
We are blessed to be your parents. We bless you in the name of Jesus and we pray that God's hand will guide you your whole life long.
Benji's one year old mind certainly did not understand those words but as we pray those words with him each night before he goes to sleep we are confident that those words are more than letters on a page. Those words will help to shape and define his character and will remain with him his whole life long.
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