Holy Spirit Story: The Power to Bless in the Midst of a Mess (with Rebecca Beard)

Acts 1:8 (NIV)

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”


Today’s Holy Spirit story comes to us from Rebecca Beard. Rebecca is from Peoria. This story is full of faith and faithfulness. It gives us a picture of a pure-hearted faith moving in bold faith. I can guarantee you that everyone present on the day this happened has never forgotten it and likely still talks about it. It is powerful. I hope pastors who read today’s story will be encouraged by the surprising ways people take their work and words seriously and many follow through on their guidance. I know it encouraged me. I hope you will click on the “Listen” button above as the recording is truly special and you will see why if you can hear it. You can also read the story in her own words below. 

A few years ago, I was challenged by one of my pastors, Greg Fish, in his sermon, “Blessings and Curses.” In it, he said we often curse people and don’t even recognize it. Our curses may not be four-letter words or blasphemes. They can be actions or inactions. They can even be by withholding blessings from another. He went on to say that we need to bless others and be blessed by others. It speaks life into us! He shared ways in which we can bless others. He left us with a challenge to bless five people over the next week.

I took that challenge to heart and prayed about how I might bless others. God laid it upon my heart to bless my store manager. I knew him to be a believer, but the work environment was secular. I was afraid to come right out and bless him, so it took me until Tuesday to ask him if it would be alright if I could bless him at work. He said it would be okay, but duty called him away from the moment. I was glad because I really didn’t know what words to say. Saying a formal blessing seemed somehow more ordained than my status. I prayed about it and God answered me with an idea.

On Thursday—my next work day—I determined this would be the day I would bless my manager. Normally, it was one of our busiest days of the week at lunchtime, and this day things seemed a notch above the normal craziness and stresses of the job. I watched for an opportunity to impart my blessing.

I was in the back doing dishes glad to be apart from all the hubbub. Then I heard the manager call my name telling me to bring out a mop and bucket. Oops! There must be a spill somewhere. As I rounded the corner with the mop and bucket, I saw the spill. In the middle of the lunch rush, the maintenance guy had pressed the buttons on the fry machine in the wrong sequence and the fry vat had emptied onto the floor. My manager was standing there feet shoulder width apart, fists on hips, and a glare in his eye looking fit to be tied.

The maintenance guy and I went to work cleaning up the mess. It probably took us half an hour to clean up the mess, but we finally got the job done. There was a lull in the customers. I put away my mop and bucket, walked back up to the manager, looked him square in the eye, and asked him if now would be a good time to bless him. With a look of resignation on his face, he agreed as if to say, “Yeah, I could really use a blessing right now.”

I wanted this blessing to be for the manager, assistant managers, and crew not necessarily for the customers, so I positioned myself with my back to the eating area facing the staff. I am a better choir member than a soloist, so to control my anxiety, I closed my eyes. Then I lifted up my voice and sang, “The Blessing of Aaron.”

It was a song I had memorized from my high school days. We had used it as a prayer in a public school on our field trip one year. Later that same year after baccalaureate service, which was the last singing engagement with the seniors, a large group of us met at a sit-down restaurant and sang it as a blessing in the last hour of the day. This is where I had the inspiration to instead of speaking a blessing to sing a blessing, and it seemed most fitting for me.

As I sang the song, I could hear the other parts from years ago singing with me giving me support. When I finished, I opened my eyes. The assistant managers had gathered around and applauded. What an affirmation. But the best part of it all was that peace, God’s peace, filled the store.


Father, thank you for this story of simple obedience and bold faith, and what a picture of your love it gives us. In Rebeccas’s singing in the midst of that messy restaurant, we can hear you singing over us in the midst of our messes. Come, Holy Spirit, and infuse this kind of faith in us to do the unconventional, to break with our norms, and to get out of our comfort zone in the interest of blessing other people with the very blessing of Christ Jesus. We pray in Jesus’s name, amen. 


Have you ever taken this kind of risk and gotten out of your comfort zone like Rebecca did in today’s story? What happened? Are you inspired to be more bold now?  


Today we will sing our Saturday song: “Sanctuary.” We will sing it through twice. 

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

P.S.  Holy Spirit Stories Welcome

I would love it if you would send a story of faith from your life we might use on a Saturday in the future. We will be glad to attach your name or a pseudonym or anonymity—it’s up to you. It can be a story of coming to faith, a story of transformation, a story of healing, deliverance, suffering and sufficient grace, family reconciliation, prodigal returns, answered prayer, and so forth. A word count of 500–800 words works well. We can’t guarantee publication, but we assure you of our prayerful discernment. You can reply to this email with your story and it will come to me.

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

4 Responses

  1. I woke up this morning with this sentence developing in my mind and posted it on Facebook before coming to today’s Wake-Up Call. It describes what Rebecca from Peoria did so beautifully.

    “Christ-followers are called to go beyond the culture around them and to live by the values of the kingdom of God — to be in the world but not of the world — to be lights that radiate the presence, love, and reality of the risen Jesus, not mirrors that reflect the thoughts, feelings, desires, and beliefs of the society where they live.”

  2. An inspiring story about how we, when yielded to the in-dwelt Holy Spirit, are empowered to live out our lives worthily of our calling.

  3. Beautiful! I closed my eyes and listened as you sang, Rebecca.
    I’m challenged to be aware of the Lord’s presence and opportunities to bless others throughout the day.

  4. Brother, I have no problem seeing you singing that blessing in a “Fast-Food Restaurant,” image is burned on my retina’s for life!!!
    Thanks for choosing this story! What a blessing!

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