To start practicing the Beatitudes, pick one of these ideas and try it for a week.
Blessing the Poor
- Volunteer your time at your local homeless shelter or another organization that assists the poor.
- Start carrying spare bus tickets or McDonald’s gift certificates in your wallet to hand out to panhandlers. Even advocates for the homeless advise against giving money to homeless people, because those funds may end up purchasing alcohol or drugs. But when you hand someone a gift certificate, you know where your money is going.
- Most of us have friends who aren’t as well off financially as we are. Could you give someone a small gift (perhaps a gasoline or grocery gift card) to help her meet expenses?
- Think of someone you know who financially is doing fine, but is suffering a great deal from other causes—we’ll call it “poverty of spirit.” Send him or her an encouraging note this week with an invitation to spend time together.
Blessing Those Who Mourn
- Send a sympathy card to someone suffering a loss. Remember that a loss is not always a death—it can be a romantic breakup or the loss of a job.
- Offer to help a grieving person in a tangible way (for example, by cooking for a new widow).
- If you have a friend who’s mourning a death, don’t let your sympathy end with the funeral. Put a note on your calendar to check in with the grieving person in two weeks … in a month … in three to six months.
Blessing the Humble
- The humble in our celebrity-obsessed society tend to be ignored. This week, thank three people who do “humble” jobs (perhaps a trash collector, a janitor, or a customer service rep). Consider a small gift or a letter to the person’s supervisor praising their work.
Blessing Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Justice
- Help bring justice to people who are oppressed by human trafficking (modern-day slavery). Become a prayer partner or activist with an organization like International Justice Mission.
- Consider speaking up for abused and neglected children in your hometown. CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates for children) is a program that exists in many areas of the country; it gives volunteers the opportunity to represent the best interests of kids in abusive or broken families.
- Dedicate 15 minutes of prayer and self-examination to evaluating your own standards of justice at work. If you’re a business manager or owner, are you paying your employees well and treating them according to the Golden Rule? If you deal with customers, do you strive to treat them fairly (even if it means extra work or lost commission)? If you’re an employee, do you show integrity in the way you handle your company’s resources (including time and office supplies)?
Blessing Others by Being Merciful
- How do you respond when someone serving you makes a mistake? Whether they forget to put lettuce on your Big Mac or screw up your credit card bill, remember that the person across the counter is a human like you. For one entire week, try for model mercy instead of judgment any time you’re frustrated.
- Pray every day this week for someone who has hurt you. At the end of the week, send them a card of encouragement or forgiveness. They probably don’t deserve your mercy—but you will honor God by giving it.
- Jesus is the ultimate example of mercy. Have you found opportunities lately to tell people about his grace that saved you from your sins? Pray for an opportunity this week to talk about God’s mercy with someone you know.
Blessing the Pure in Heart
- The Bible says that what’s in our heart tends to overflow from our mouths. By that standard, do you know anyone with a (mostly) pure heart? Think of a person in your life who encourages others, refrains from gossip, and honors God with their words. Tell him how much you appreciate his Godly attitude!
- Is there anyone you know who’s fighting for sexual purity? Maybe it’s a married person battling pornography or a teen committed to maintaining chastity until marriage. Ask that person how you can support her in her quest to honor God.
Blessing Others by Working for Peace
- The last time you had a disagreement with a brother in Christ, did you try to restore the relationship by making peace? Peace doesn’t mean full agreement (there is wisdom in “agreeing to disagree”)—but it does mean talking things out instead of nursing resentment. This week, commit to meeting with the person you disagreed with to discuss your differences.
- A surprising number of people in the Church either have never read Jesus’ conflict resolution strategy in Matthew 18:15-17 … or ignore it. If you’re a part of a Bible study or other small group, discuss these verses with the people in your group. What implications do they have for the way you interact with other Christians?
Blessing Those Who Are Persecuted for Doing Right
- Suffering for one’s beliefs is generally a foreign concept to Americans, but not to millions of Christians around the world. Learn how to pray for the persecuted church through The Voice of the Martyrs.
- Do you know someone who’s vocal about his faith and his deeply-held convictions, even when it results in ridicule? Encourage that person to continue standing firm for Christ. (Note: I am not suggesting that you encourage hypocrites who self-righteously tell others how to live. Rather, “those who are doing right” are people who live out unpopular truths with humility.)
Copyright © 2008 George Halitzka. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from, or adapted from, the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. The inclusion of a hyperlink on this page does not constitute an endorsement of the website and/ or organization referenced thereby.