“Gem. Yes, that’s my name. G-E-M. It’s not a nickname. It’s not short for anything. My dad took one look at me when I was born and said, ‘What a Gem!’”
Over the course of my life, I’ve had this conversation more times than I can count. People’s usual response is something like, “Aww, how sweet!”
Growing up, I never fully appreciated my name or its meaning. I just knew that, when used with my maiden name of Wheat, it could be easily twisted into a nickname that reduced me to the size of a grain: Wheat Germ. The nucleus of a wheat kernel. Prepubescent boys couldn’t resist calling me this on a degrading daily basis in elementary school.
In the years that followed, and especially in my current season of life, my name is one of my most valued “possessions.” My name is the greatest blessing bestowed upon me by my dad. I couldn’t be more grateful. With the simple utterance of the words, “What a Gem!” my dad showed exactly what he thought of me.
Dallas Willard has said that a “blessing is the projection of good into the life of another. It isn’t merely words. It is the actual putting forth of your will for the good of another person. It always involves God. Only God is capable of bringing good to another. We naturally say, ‘God bless you,’ and that’s right. You bless someone when you will their good by invoking God on their behalf. This is the nature of blessing. God wants us to receive blessing from Him and extend it to others.”*
Blessing is the projection of good into the life of another.
We are living at a time when rampant contempt and disregard for humanity fill our daily newsfeeds. This is not limited to North America or Western culture; it’s occurring worldwide. We don’t even hear all of the terrible things that are happening, but what we do hear is now beyond unbearable.
Like so many others who are speaking out about this problem, I don’t have easy answers. So, from my heart, I am asking that we continue to become people of blessing.
We can be present in our own very real lives. Day by day. Moment by moment. We can bridle our own tongue, monitor our own anger, and guard our own heart. And we can will the good of another—one person at a time.
As Mother Teresa said, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”
God is present. He loves you. Let that overflow, and be a blessing.
*Dallas Willard, Living in Christ’s Presence (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2014), page 164.