Poet Samuel Foss wrote, “Let me live by the side of the road and be a friend to man” (“The House by the Side of the Road”). That’s what I want to be—a friend of people. I want to stand by the way, waiting for weary travelers. To look for those who have been battered and wronged by others, who carry the burden of a wounded and disillusioned heart. To nourish and refresh them with an encouraging word and send them on their way. I may not be able to “fix” them or their problems, but I can leave them with a blessing.
Melchizedek, both the king of Salem and a priest, blessed Abram when he was returning weary from battle (Gen. 14). A “blessing” is more than a polite response to a sneeze. We bless others when we bring them to the One who is the source of blessing. Melchizedek blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth” (v. 19).
We can bless others by praying with them; we can take them with us to the throne of grace to find help in time of need (Heb. 4:16). We may not be able to change their circumstances, but we can show them God. That’s what a true friend does.
Jesus, teach us to be a friend of people as You are with us. Give us eyes to see others and their needs and to take the time to listen. Help us to take them to You, the source of life.
A big part of loving is listening.
A benediction is a prayer that asks for God’s blessing. In this passage, Melchizedek, priest-king of Jerusalem, blessed Abraham with a benediction, attributing Abraham’s victory to the power of God (vv. 19–20). In many churches the pastor often closes the worship service by reciting the words of Numbers 6:24–26 as a prayer of blessing, assuring the congregation of God’s presence, pardon, protection, and peace. The biblical writers underscored this privilege of blessing others when throughout their letters they sprinkled prayers of blessing upon their readers (see Rom. 15:13; 2 Cor. 13:14; 1 Thess. 3:11–13; 2 Thess. 2:16–17; Heb. 13:20–21; Jude 1:24–25).
This week, why not use one of the biblical benedictions as a prayer of blessing for a loved one.