What does “God bless you.” mean?

I wrote this a few years ago, but the meaning remains the same.

Last week I was in a small shopping mall here in Oxford and next to a coffee shop were 3 British soldiers, in uniform. They were standing behind a portable countertop that had recruitment materials and information laid out on it. Behind them was a large computer monitor showing DVD’s with information about the army.

The mood here in England for their soldiers is reminiscent of what I remember America was like during the Viet Nam war.
Often times, military men and women are not respected and they are discriminated against. Just a few months ago I read in the paper how a young officer who had just returned from Iraq, was turned away from a hotel because they didn’t want his type there. Afterwards the corporate offices sent him an apology, but the damage was done.

As I walked by the 3 young soldiers in the mall on my way to have coffee with friends, the thought came to me, “Buy those soldiers a coffee.”
Here is how the conversation went:

May I please buy you soldiers a coffee or tea?

Pardon?

I would just be so blessed to be able to buy you all a cup of coffee or tea?
What would you like? A latte, cappuccino, tea?

Mam, Where are you from?
(They are staring at me with puzzled expressions)

(I laughed) I am from the states but I have lived here almost 7 years and I want you to know how much I appreciate what you are doing for our country. I would be absolutely blessed to buy you a cup of coffee. Or would you prefer juice or a soda?
What would you like?

Thank you! Thank you ever so much!
I would like a tea with milk.
I will have a latte.
I’ll have a cappuccino.

I purchased the drinks and as I waited, I was thinking about how much I wanted to share the love of Jesus with them. Should I give them a gospel tract? What should I say?
I carried the tray out to them, looked them straight in the eyes and with all sincerity said, “God bless you.”

Thank you! Thank you so much. That was so kind of you.

Boys, I am blessed to be able to do this for you. God bless you.

I walked away to my waiting friends.
No, I didn’t share the 4 spiritual laws, I didn’t tell them of their need for salvation, but I walked away with a prayer in my heart that the small gift and the words of “God bless you” will remind those young men that there is a God who cares, a God who loves and a God to Whom they are accountable.

When we say God bless you, what does that mean to us?

I know what it means to me. In speaking those 3 words I am praying that person receives the greatest blessing that anyone can have, which is peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

When I say “God bless you,” I pray that I am planting seeds and that others will water in the hope of a spiritual harvest.

You know, lately I find myself saying “God Bless You” a lot: on the phone and in the shops, and I don’t take it lightly.
I am very serious.
I say it with a heartfelt conviction and a prayer for those folks to which I am speaking.

Often times there are not opportunities to have a fruitful and in-depth conversation with someone, but I can leave them with a blessing. I can leave them with 3 words that remind them that there is more to life than this earth. I pray that the blessing will be a catalyst in their lives that points them to seeking Jesus.

May God bless you today.

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