I love helping others out and doing things for others to enjoy. I'd like to think that I am a pretty good giver to my church, God, and others, even though I'm sure I could do more. 2 Corinthians 9:7 tells us that "God loves a cheerful giver." But did you know that He wants us to be cheerful receivers as well?
In Matthew 10:8, Jesus commands, "Freely you have received, freely give." I think for many it is more difficult to receive. The first thing we must do to become a Child of God is to humble ourselves to admit we are sinners and receive His Son, Jesus Christ, as our Savior. After that, there are many other things that we must humble ourselves to receive.
Have you ever said.....
If you need anything, don't hesitate to call.
If I can do anything at all for you, please let me know.
If you need something, call me.
How many times were you actually called on?
Has anyone ever said those things to you?
How many times did you actually call someone to help you?
When we came home with Carter, lots of people told us that if they could do anything (babysit, cook, clean, shop for us), then we shouldn't hesitate to let them know. We knew they meant that, but we never asked anyone for anything. There were a few people that just DID IT. They didn't give us an option of asking for help. We would get a phone call: I'm bringing you supper, so when would be a good night for me to do that?
When Jeffrey goes out of town, people always volunteer to do things for us or lay the offer of "Call if you need anything" out there. We know they mean it, but how many times do we take them up on that offer? Close to never.
Its not that we don't appreciate people saying and doing things, its usually that we just do it ourselves even though it really would help out to ask for help. For whatever reason, we don't ask for help. For me, I am pretty independent. I like to do things on my own, so I don't ask for help. For some, they would rather die than humble themselves and ask for help. After all, to receive help, you have to admit that you need it. We usually hate to admit anything negative about ourselves. However, asking for help is never negative (unless you are just lazy).
Because of our independance or failure to humble ourselves, we are taking away from someone being able to use their gifts. Because we won't allow ourselves to receive, they are not being allowed to give. Its a two way street: giving is a ministry and so is receiving.
Sure it would be easier if everyone was just a "doer" instead of an "offerer." BUT when would we humble ourselves? We wouldn't.
I remember teaching Sunday School one day about this very topic. You see, in our church, we wave so many talented people. Leslie and Hilarie work with the children in music and drama. Adam is a genius when it comes to technology. Steve knows everything there is to know about everything (we think so anyway). Ms. Joan creates some amazing things with her sewing machine and stitching. Leslie is a great listener and give good advice (what's a lawyer for?) and is very talented in music.
Now what if when Ms. Joan asked us about making gifts for our boys and we said, "Oh, you don't have to do that. Please don't waste your time on us"? She would probably feel that we didn't appreciate her gesture and didn't like her work.
What if Adam volunteered to video tape Jeffrey's oath of office ceremony and we told him we would find someone else because we didn't want to tie him down on a Saturday night? He would probably think we were afraid a teenager couldn't handle the job.
What if we refused to let Cindy, Teresa, and June cook for us when they called and said, "We are bringing food. When would be a good time?"
We would be denying people to give if we refused to receive. God has given us different talents and gifts. Denying people the ministry of using those gifts and talents is wrong. We should always try to allow people to give by being cheerful receivers.
Thank you for creating us all so very differently. Lord, you love a cheerful giver just like you love a cheerful receiver. Please allow us to humble ourselves in order to give others the chance to use their talents and gifts. Amen.