Reflections on Receiving and Giving
This is an edited version of a testimony I wrote in 2013, after being healed of cancer. The physical, emotional and spiritual generosity of this Congregation carried me for more than two years. Below is some of what I learned about receiving while I surrendered to God, and to your giving. We are taught that it is better to give than to receive.
I happen to believe that receiving and giving are equally important.
Even if we concede that giving is better than receiving, it doesn’t mean that receiving is bad…or wrong. Nor does it need to be humiliating, rather, it requires learning to be humble, as Christ taught us.
Think about how wonderful we feel when we give generously… I mean with a generous heart. How do you feel when you give freely? Give with no resentment, give with no strings attached, give knowing that your gift is something the recipient can use, will bring delight? Make a difference in a life?
Don’t we hear about, even know from personal experience, that we usually receive in intangible ways MORE than we give? We feel enriched, appreciated, loved and most importantly, we know ourselves as loving. We love ourselves as we love our neighbors……….. Yes, I said we love OURSELVES as we love our neighbors.
What happens when your gift is received grumpily, without gratitude? Or if it is re-gifted? How do you feel? What decision about sharing do you make?
How do you feel when you make an offer just to hear: “I’m fine, I don’t need anything.?” (and you are tempted to say, yeah, well, you forgot to tell your face). That’s one of the ironic things about denying that anything is wrong: people CAN tell, you’re not fooling anyone. Out of an unwillingness to embarrass, or intrude we give each other passes on those polite lies. We miss the opportunity to let the Holy Spirit inspire us.
We know that they care about us, but we feel judged or indebted when we let them give to us. I see this as dishonest, both with ourselves and with others because we deny our needs and their need to contribute.
Most of us think of “I need, I want,” as forbidden to say to ourselves… and NEVER out loud. Both John and Matthew tell the story of the man on the pallet who depended on his friends to carry him to Jesus for healing. At least once in our lives it will be given to us to be the man on the pallet…to surrender and let our friends take care of us.
God has promised to provide for us. He has a heck of a time keeping that promise because we refuse His goodness when we refuse to receive His love from our brothers and sisters. In its worst form, this becomes a denial of God’s presence in our lives.
When we deny or keep silent about what we need we deny God’s grace in our lives. God is present with us and within each of us ALL the time. We each and all deserve His love.
When we deny someone inspired to offer us support, succor or comfort we are denying God’s grace and presence in our lives.
So, next time someone asks, take a deep breath, look the face of God in theirs, and say “yes, this is what you can give”.
If no one is available to receive, how could anyone enjoy the goodness of giving?