by Brandi Pillow
Deuteronomy 15: 6-8 “For the Lord your God will bless you, as he promised you, and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow, and you shall rule over many nations, but they shall not rule over you. If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.”
One of my favorite parts of our service each Sunday is the benediction. I enjoy ending the service by refocusing on the Lord’s blessings as we leave and prepare for a new week. There have been several Sundays where I have found myself scrambling to empty my hands of a hymnal, a bulletin, or my Bible when it’s time for the benediction. I quickly try to lay down whatever it is I’m holding, thinking “I want my blessing!” For the good things, like blessings, we seem to always want to have empty, open hands to receive them. This thought had occurred to me several times before and was completely turned on its head when I listened to Jen Wilkin speak at The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference back in June.
The whole conference was an intensive look at the book of Deuteronomy and each speaker took a different section of the book to really break apart and examine. Wilkin’s session focused on Chapter 15, verses 1-18. Part of her speech took my idea of open hands one step further. She reminded us that not only should our hands be open to receive blessings, but they should be open to share them as well. She also used a great analogy to further explain her point. Wilkin talked about the contrast between a hard heart and a closed fist with a soft heart and an open hand. She went on to say that a hard heart and closed fist equaled treasures on Earth while a soft heart and an open hand brought treasures in Heaven. I realized I had worried about having open hands to receive a blessing but I hadn’t spent as much time making sure my hands were open to share those blessings as well. Wilkin encouraged us to ask ourselves “Am I a terminus or a distribution point?” and that has really stuck with me.
A lot of times when we talk about “sharing blessings,” we focus on sharing monetary things. That is of course important but I think it’s also important to remember that sharing our blessings with others can mean sharing our time, our gifts, and our talents. Sometimes the best thing we can do for someone is to spend time with them, be an ear to listen, or pray with them. Those are things that can’t be boiled down to a monetary value. One last thing that Wilkin said that has stayed with me these past few weeks is that when we see someone in need of any kind, our response should be “to whom can I be a neighbor?” not “Well, they’re not my neighbor.” I want to focus more on seeing who is my neighbor and sharing with them with open hands.