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  • Shawn Thornton

Blessing Others Blesses You

Wednesday - April 29th

Today's Scripture to Read: John 13:12-17

Throughout this school year that was so rudely disrupted by the Coronavirus, I have regularly received a batch of notes of encouragement from Mrs. Laurie Hagberg's 6th-grade class at Hillcrest Christian School here in Thousand Oaks. I am not sure of the frequency, the assignment, if other classes adopted various lead pastors at area churches, or if the students even know who I am. But, God used each packet of notes that have arrived to bless and encourage me. 

Mrs. Hagberg didn't send a note ahead of the first batch saying something like, "Pastor Shawn, I want to give you a heads up that our class will be sending you notes of encouragement throughout the school year as part of a schoolwide outreach (or as part of a class writing assignment)." Actually, I am glad she did not. My assistant, Lareita, and I had some fun trying to figure out why the first packet of notes came to me and in reading what the students had written. I think I have received at least three packages of notes during this school year from Mrs. Hagberg's class.

In a few of the notes, the 6th-graders identified themselves as part of the Calvary family. Some mentioned hearing a sermon or two from me when they sat with their parents in the main Worship Center for a service. Others told me what churches they go to and what they like about their pastor or church. One sweet girl referenced that her dad was a pastor at another local church, and she knew that he and I were friends.

Several thanked me for "Preaching the Gospel," "Teaching the Bible," or "Leading such a big church." Others of the students have drawn me pictures, told me about the church and pastor where their families are involved, or written out Bible verses or simple prayers they prayed for me. I have received each note as a blessing from God through the heart, mind, and writing of each student. I have not asked Mrs. Hagberg for any of the details behind the writing of the notes. I don't want to spoil the simplicity, sweetness, and encouragement each note conveys by learning all of the requirements and logistics behind the packets that arrive.

This week, I received an email with a link posting notes from the class (you can see the screen of these in the picture included in this devotional). No one would blame Mrs. Hagberg and her class if, in the transition to online school, they stopped writing and sending me these notes of encouragement. But this week they again sent a fresh batch of encouragement and blessing! Thank you, Mrs. Hagberg, and your sixth-graders for your continued kindness. It is not expected, but it is much appreciated.   

After Jesus had washed His disciples' feet in the Upper Room the night He would later be betrayed and tried before Religious and Roman leaders, Jesus encouraged His disciples to follow His example. He pointed out that they see Him as and call Him their teacher and leader. He commended them for that. Then he pointed out that in washing their feet, He had done something other teachers and leaders would not do. He had humbled Himself to bless them by kneeling and washing their dirty feet. As Jesus told them they should follow His example, he then promised them that as they did, they would not only bless others but be blessed by God themselves. 

May God bring a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction to Mrs. Hagberg's 6th-graders! May they know the promise Jesus gives us that as we bless others, we will be blessed. They have blessed me. May God bless them.

How about you? Do you understand that when you selflessly help meet the needs of others or you go out of your way to value and encourage them, that God will bless you? Our motivation should not be to do whatever we have to do to get a blessing for ourselves. It should be a selfless desire to bring encouragement to others and let God take care of when and how He blesses. Just love someone else unconditionally, and God will keep unconditionally loving you! Find someone to bless practically today with words of affirmation or acts of love (or both)!

God blesses us as we humbly bless and encourage others!

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