Posts Tagged ‘receiving’

The Generous Receiver of Gifts

December 8, 2016

How we receive gifts also tells much about us.

I have been thinking about the encounter of the rich young man with Jesus. The one where Jesus got to the point of his problem. He had too much stuff, and he couldn’t let it go. Maybe he was like a hoarder. Maybe he was like Scrooge McDuck (for those of you old enough to remember) who was mostly pictured sitting in his vault with piles gold coins and sacks of gold coins.

But if someone is going to give generously, then that means someone must receive.

How do you receive?

I learned a long time ago to adjust my wants to reality. Growing up in a family without much money can form you in one of two ways. In my case, I wanted things, but learned that many were beyond budget. So, I adjusted my expectations. On the other hand, I know of people in similar situations who grew up only to crave the things they couldn’t have as children even more than when they were little.

Do we adjust to reality, or do we expect reality to adjust to us? 

Maybe we have seen way too many advertisements (and they date back to the early 1800s) of the joyous kid opening presents. And we think that if we can’t capture that picture in reality, then Christmas is ruined. I have even heard pastors equate a joyful Christmas to the number of presents under the tree!

I’m sure for many not receiving the gift, or not receiving enough gifts, is disappointing.

But maybe that is because the anticipation of Christmas is misplaced. It focuses on quantity of presents.

What do I appreciate? I appreciate that someone thought of me.
I bet that is true for most everyone. Except for those whose focus is on the wrong place.

Then it’s time for an attitude adjustment.

Love Language of Receiving

January 20, 2015

He then realized that his wife’s “love language” was receiving. So he decided to give her something every day for a week, and then to give her something every week for a year.

John Ortberg mentioned as an example this story from a book called “Five Love Languages” or something like that. Disclaimer: I have not read the book.

But that example really threw me. A love language of receiving? I suppose that everyone likes to receive a gift. Even me, although I have few wants or needs. But, as a way of life?!

I have another word or two for that “language” or life attitude. Spoiled. Self-centered. Self-absorbed.

Maybe I’ve taken the illustration too far. Maybe there is a nuance I missed or that Ortberg didn’t mention.

It seems to me through observation and reading that one of the major problems of our times–and this isn’t only America–is just that self-absorption or self-centeredness. I’m amazed at the number of times in a day I can observe examples of people thoughtlessly unaware of others around them. (Oh, and you can tell a self-centered person by asking them–they’ll think that there is nothing wrong in the example I just cited.)

But there is a spiritual gift, agape, that entails giving. I don’t know what we learned about the wife, really, from Ortberg’s example. It is obvious that at least one person made the leap from self-centered to thinking of someone else.

For that, the apostle Paul would rejoice. He taught that many times.

Receive as a blessing; give to be a blessing.