Give and Receive
December 6, 2010
Have you ever wondered why it is easier to give than to receive?
On the way to the airport this morning, to catch our flight to Thailand, the conversation turned to stories about people giving us things for doing good deeds or just being kind and how difficult it is many times to receive such generosity with only a heart-felt “thank you” – especially when we don’t feel we deserve their gift. We’ll bend over backwards in our attempts to wiggle out of accepting their generosity with a “no, no, that’s silly, keep it, I didn’t do anything; no really you keep that; no problem, it’s good;” we will say anything to keep from accepting what we may perceive as an unwarranted “free gift.” As a general rule we’re much better at giving than receiving.
As the conversation drifted on to other things I was struck with a startling thought that tied onto earlier bits of “going to the airport” conversation. I grew up in a religious denomination that was really big on works. In fact at the beginning of the individual Bible class study times each week a record was kept of how many Bible studies were given this week, how many pieces of literature were passed out, how much clothing was given away, how many home and/or hospital visitations were made and so on and so on. These were all added up and it was a point of pride for the person who had done the most. Even though I don’t remember this ever being preached from the pulpit, but certainly the strong under-current of belief in that denomination was – you have to earn your salvation – you have to prove you are good enough by all the good works you do and maybe, just maybe, if you are good enough God will accept you.
As a child I frequently went to sleep at night wondering, “was I good enough today that if I died tonight would I go to heaven or hell. It really is a terrifying question for a child. I was in my late thirties before my Heavenly Father answered that question for me for all time and eternity. I now have absolute assurance of my salvation in Yashua – Hallelujah! But for my wonderful, godly Great Grandmother just a short time before her death at the age of 102, I heard he asking her pastor, “How do I know Pastor if I’m good enough?” Her question broke my heart. She died without assurance in her Messiah’s free gift of the cross to her.
How many are in the same place? Are you, In the deepest depths of your heart really wondering the same thing? “Am I good enough?”
Sitting in the back seat of the car listening to the conversation drift around me I suddenly realized the two are related. We have trouble receiving what we may deem as unwarranted gifts because really in our heart of hearts we haven’t yet truly received the greatest unwarranted gift of all – eternal life. We still want to be the one in control, we want to be the giver, we want to orchestrate the event, we want to be good enough to deserve it, but we’ll never attain that place of “perfection” because our false sense of humility won’t allow it. Therefore we have to be the guy or gal on top – the one who gives and never takes – we want to be that one on the cross, not the one bowing at its foot.
Is this harsh? Are you recoiling at these words?
No, that’s not me, maybe you are saying. Well maybe this isn’t for you, and actually I pray that it is not, but if Yashua is knocking, right now, on your heart’s door – let Him in. He wants to sit at your table and eat with you and you with Him. He said He is the Bread of Life that came down from heaven – eat My flesh and drink My blood and live forever. He didn’t come to condemn you, He came to save you and He’s waiting to be invited in to dinner!
One last question, one last pondering before I go; if we in our hearts truly believed in Yashua’s free gift of eternal life would the description of the first-century believers become our life in the body of Messiah today?
Act 2:43-47 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
Something to think about, isn’t it?