Fred LaPlante is the pastor at the Juneau Church of the Nazarene. (Photo courtesy of Fred LaPlante)

Fred LaPlante is the pastor at the Juneau Church of the Nazarene. (Photo courtesy of Fred LaPlante)

Living and Growing: Be a blessing

Years ago, I learned a great acronym, B.L.E.S.S. “B” stands for “Begin with Prayer.” “L” stands for “Listen.” “E” stands for “Eat with others.” The first “S” stands for “Serve others.” The final “S” stands for “Share the Story.” This concept is from Dave Ferguson. I love the way each of us can bless everyone we meet. It might also change how we interact in person and online.

“Begin with Prayer” means we go to the One who hears and wants to interact with us. Talking to God is often the last thing we do, but it should be the first place, the first thing we do every morning when we wake. We ask God what he wants, share with him what we want, and discuss the day and how we should proceed. Prayer is a conversation between us and our creator, who knows so much more than we do.

“Begin with Prayer “leads us to the “L,” “Listen.” This is not just hearing, but truly understanding and valuing the other person. Active listening is a powerful way to show someone that they are important, a bearer of God’s image. We all long to be seen and heard, and active listening can fulfill that need.

“E” stands for Eating with others. We all like to eat. When we eat together, we chat about various topics and find common areas of interest. It is a good way to get to know a new friend.

“S” stands for “Serving others.” Many people have needs, some more obvious than others. As we do the first three areas above, we learn where there are needs. We can also begin by helping others, praying for them, listening to them, and then eating together. It is also a time when we are helped too.

The final “S” stands for “Sharing the story.” Each of us has a unique and valuable story. As we listen to each other’s stories, we can learn and grow together. But remember, the timing of sharing your story is crucial. Wait for the right moment, when the person you are blessing asks for it. This invitation can be direct or indirect, but share your story confidently and without hesitation when it comes.

One last thing: if you would like prayer, please email me, Fred LaPlante, at nazpasfred3@gmail.com. I would love to be a blessing to you.

• Fred LaPlante is the pastor at the Nazarene Church. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Saturday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.

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