Blessed to Receive?

There is a popular adage that comes from the Bible that says, ” It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts20:35).  This saying popped into my mind as a seeming contradiction to something my wife Gloria had shared regarding her resolution to learn how to “receive” instead of merely giving.  After looking at the context of the adage it became clear to me that the Apostle Paul in quoting Jesus, was speaking of his own willingness, as a role model, to provide not only for his own needs but for the needs of others as well.  I don’t think anyone would argue that we humans have a selfish bent that needs to be addressed and a bit of encouragement to “give” now and then is in order.

The thought that there may be times when it is appropriate to address our need to know how to “receive” was thought provoking to me.  Another popular saying from the words of Jesus is , “Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:24) So it is not only “blessed to give” but it is “blessed to receive” as well.  In fact how can we give unless we first receive.  We start our life as little children in the receiving mode.  It is only after we have received for a while that we can even begin to give in a conscious and meaningful way.

When we look at God’s world around us we discover that it is one massive, perpetual, receiving and giving system.  Every living thing receives and gives.  Plants and animals all receive nutrients and water, air and sunlight and in turn give fruits as well as beauty.  The truth is, all who lose the ability to “receive” will soon not have anything to give.

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