A college professor once told our class that we need to allow others to give us gifts. “What if,” he asked us “God has asked them to give it, and by refusing their gift you’re not allowing them to be the blessing God has asked them to be? Accept the gift.”
I remember it like it was yesterday. Sitting in class with this professor I learned so much from, who was a mentor for Jeremy and I in so many ways. I learned about God’s love from him, and how important it is to love others and let others love you.
It seems lately, that I’ve been given more than I’ve given. Whether it’s been a gift in response to a need or a gift simply because it’s a gift, I’ve been on the receiving end of the gift.
Many years ago during the Advent season I prayed that I would understand the gift of what it meant that Jesus came as a baby for our benefit. For one month I prayed this prayer. I didn’t “get” the answer I was looking for until Christmas Eve. We spent time with friends that night and were given a gift much greater than anything we could afford, or anything that was even close to matching the gift we gave them. I realized then, this was the answer to my prayer. In Jesus, we are given so much more than we can give, and He expects nothing in return.
Most recently, as we were sitting outside of the trauma unit of a local hospital after Anna’s fall from a horse, we were recipients of the crisis care that normally we are the ones giving. Jeremy as an EMT/Firefighter, and both of us as pastors and parents..neither position offers much in the way of receiving , but mostly about giving.
There is something about our human nature, some sort of deep down pride that tells us we shouldn’t accept from others. That we need to be the givers. That we can make it on our own, or that it’s rude to take from other people. But there’s something greater about God’s nature, dwelling in us, that tells us, as much as I want to be a giver, I equally need to be a receiver. In receiving I’m helping others give, and perhaps that’s the very thing God has called them to do.
What I’ve learned recently? I need to remember to be a gracious receiver. That means not just saying thank you , or writing the note, or physically accepting the gift, but embracing the beauty of the gift as something from God himself through the conduit of another soul.
While I’m never surprised how God provides for us, be it our normal life or the extra somethings that surprise us, there’s a part of me that is still in awe of HOW He provides, and from whom the gift comes.
Let’s learn to accept the gift.
James 1:17: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.