"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
January 22, 2014
Blessed to be a Blessing
by Kathryn Grant

When the prophet Abraham was 75 years old and was still called Abram, the Lord told him to leave his country, his kindred, and his father’s house (Genesis 12:1). Then the Lord made these astonishing promises to him:

I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed (Genesis 12:2–3).

And in thy seed after thee ... shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal (Abraham 2:11).

It’s hard not to marvel at the Lord’s generosity in these promises. But something else stands out: the blessings God promised to Abraham weren’t supposed to stop with him. He was blessed to become a blessing — he, and his children after him.

And who are his children? The apostle Paul taught, “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.... And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galations 3:7, 29)

So as followers of the Savior, we are counted as children of Abraham. We’re heirs to the same blessings — and the same privilege of being a blessing to others.

Ann Voskamp wrote of her amazement when she discovered this truth: “I am blessed. I can bless. Imagine! I could let Him make me the gift! ... This is one of His miracles too: the taking of a life and making it a blessing.” (One Thousand Gifts; emphasis in original.)

The beautiful irony is that as we seek to bless others, we can’t keep blessings from coming into our own lives.

A man once came to Elder John Groberg seeking help with difficult challenges in his life. Elder Groberg was impressed to tell him, “The Lord smiles on those who use their time and effort to help others. As you concentrate on [others and their challenges] more than your own, I believe solutions to your challenges will become more clear.”

Many months later, Elder Groberg heard this man bear his testimony in stake conference. He expressed gratitude to the Lord, his family, and others who had helped him and his family in their recent challenges. He testified that the Lord answers prayer.

Then he said, “I have two questions for you. I have thought a lot about these questions and would like you to ponder them seriously. First, Why should the Lord bless us if that blessing simply stops with us? Second, Why should He not bless us if He knows we will use that blessing to help others?” In seeking to bless others, this man was blessed with the help he needed.

Elder Groberg concluded, “When we use the blessings the Lord has given us primarily for our own benefit, we close doors to eternal understanding and progress. When we energetically seek to use the blessings the Lord has given us to help others, we open many more doors of heaven.” (Refuge and Reality: The Blessings of the Temple.)

As we follow Isaiah’s counsel to “look unto Abraham [our] father” (Isaiah 51:2), we see our role in the Abrahamic covenant. As recipients of choice blessings from the Lord, we in turn can bless others. Like Abraham, we can be a blessing. We can send out waves of faith and goodness and love whose influence goes far beyond what we can see in our mortal lives.

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About Kathryn Grant

Kathryn Grant is a user assistance professional with a passion for usability and process improvement. She also loves family history and enjoys the challenge and reward of building her family tree.

As a child, she lived outside the United States for four years because of her father's job. This experience fueled her natural love of words and language, and also taught her to appreciate other cultures.

Kathryn values gratitude, teaching, learning, differences, and unity. She loves looking at star-filled skies, reading mind-stretching books, listening to contemporary Christian music, attending the temple, and eating fresh raspberries.

Kathryn teaches Sunday family history classes at the BYU Family History Library, and presents frequently at family history events. For more information, visit her Family History Learning Resources page

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