So many of us grew up with the adage, ‘it is better to give than to receive’, and I suppose that is a good, solid statement. After all, it is implied that we should not be selfish, we should share, and we should give of ourselves. But, let’s not be too quick to give up ‘receiving’.
Are you a gracious receiver? For many of us it is so difficult and awkward to receive. We may feel undeserving, inadequate, and simply not worthy of the gifts that may be offered to us. It takes us out of our comfort zones. We are much better givers. Maybe it’s a bit of a control issue…
Anyway, as we progress through our lives we find that out of necessity we are forced to receive more, we have no choice. Our physical bodies begin to break down and our mental faculties dull a bit and we discover that we need to rely on others. We can accept those changes gracefully or we can fight it every step of the way. I think that we’ve all seen examples of both. And eventually, we have no choice, we must receive the ultimate gift….the gift of our eternal home.
So, why is it necessary that we become receivers?
Jesus received the precious oil on his feet…..an example for us
Jesus washed his disciples feet…Peter had a bit of trouble receiving that, remember?
Jesus gave us his life…..
Is it good to give? Of course
Is it good to receive? I think so.
In short, if you cannot receive, you cannot give. Grace comes first – it is received. All springs from that; everything is in response to God’s initiation. To think otherwise is to make oneself the source. I know this because I have so frequently operated from this self-absorbed position and I continue to struggle with trying to not do so!
So true Fran…Amen to all of your words.
I think being able to receive reveals a vulnerability, and trust, that makes us very human. It connects us to others in a very real way.
Yes, I agree, it does connect us…give and take…that’s what makes relationships strong
It is difficult sometimes to receive so wonderful a gift as Jesus gave us. I have…but part of me struggles with why would He love me and do that for me? When we know ourselves and our frailties and limitations, it isn’t always so easy to accept what He has done. BUT HE DID… AND I DO!!! That faith leap is what brings the peace that passes understanding.
I know Sonja and to think he would done it all if we were the only person alive – far too much to understand
I definitely need practice in this area. I feel awkward with complements too, but this takes grace. It makes the giver feel good when you can accept gifts and complements with grace! Lori
Yes, I think it makes the giver feel good too. It is a grace and one that I work at.
It, too, requires grace.
So true, I’ll keep praying
Your mention that Jesus washed the disciples feet and Peter had a hard time accepting it really hits home. Jesus was perfect humility, something to strive for.
Thanks Lisa, so glad you commented…Jesus was perfect humility, I have a lot to learn from that
When we are babies we are totally dependent receivers but we do this without guile.
As we mature and learn the cultural norms our giving can often become less tha pure; a game trapped in ego fortifying or with narcissism or even for survival in abuse situations.
Giving has power whereas receiving is often shadowed by a feeling of powerlessness.
Perfect giving and receiving is wrapped up in total trust and that is very elusive and rare in human relationships I agree with Fran that God’s grace is given and that is where we have to start from.
When Christ said we have to be like children I like to think this means to trust totally in Him. I certainly don’t find it easy and have unabiding respect for those who give up everything to follow him, especially monastics and those who live a secluded life.
So true Phil. I have a very dear friend who is a Trappist and I am amazed at their level of self-less-ness. What a beautiful example of our early church. You are right about children, just one of the many things that we can learn from them.
This is very beautifully written and I completely agree.