Perhaps you are familiar with this verse, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV)
I have read many pieces written on being a cheerful giver.
I have been challenged lately to be a cheerful receiver as well, to receive enthusiastically.
If I had my choice, I would probably choose giving over receiving. I am not a very good receiver. I honestly really struggle with my pride when it comes to receiving things.
Let’s say someone offers to buy me lunch. I will likely refuse the offer multiple times. If I do give in, I am likely to begin forming ways in my mind that I could offer restitution for what I have been given. How can I match this? When can I take them out to lunch? How can I give back?
Where it gets extremely challenging for me is when someone blesses me in a way that I can not return. When I can not find a way to give back or to match what I have been given. Although, I do try with great effort to do so in almost any way I can think of.
I have been offered the advise that I should simply say, “Thank You”. And leave it at that. Well, that does not seem to get across what I really want it to. So I will do my best to pour out in the most well versed letter of gratitude how appreciative I am. Even those wordy creations seem to fall short.
I try to combine giving hugs in addition to my cards. That’s another way I can express my gratitude. Sharing the story, praising the giver in the presence of others, I do that too.
Why have I picked this as a topic to write on today. One word, Zoey. She is my daughter and is a great inspiration to me.
She is the best and most enthusiastic receiver that I have ever had the pleasure of giving anything to. She squeals, she jumps up and down, she hugs you with all her might, she says things like “I just might cry I’m so happy”, she dances, she twirls and she makes a big deal over it all. This precious girl even has a “Thank You Dance.”
You know what? I love that.
It is just one of those things that draws you to her.
I am constantly thinking of things to do for her, my joy is multiplied by her response.
I do not know about you, but I often have what I call “God Themes” in my life. There are just certain messages that pop up over and over again, almost in concentrated form over a short period of time. This idea of receiving enthusiastically is one of them for me lately.
I was reading a story book and sure enough there was a segment that talked about allowing people to help you when you need it because if you do not you are not allowing them to love and minister to you.
I have experienced flashback reminders about things friends have said to me, encouraging me to heartily receive what others really want to give. They have been popping around in my mind like popcorn in a pan.
So, I’ve been exploring this topic. What is it that I can discover through the Bible about receiving enthusiastically?
For a while I hopped all over and could not really figure anything out. I start researching and then I would get distracted and stop. I would then remember that perseverance is my word of the year, and I would refocus and come back around.
Then I came upon this verse, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 (NIV).
Every good and perfect gift comes from God.
Which was followed by this verse, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:13.
God works in me and through me. God works in others and through others. God works in others for me and in me for others. All to fulfill His good purpose.
My next step was onto these verses, “ Come, let’s shout praises to God, raise the roof for the Rock who saved us! Let’s march into his presence singing praises, lifting the rafters with our hymns!” Psalm 95:2-3 (Message)
Shouting praises. Raising the roof. Marching. Singing. That sounds like pretty enthusiastic receiving to me.
God is the giver of all good things. He uses people in our lives to deliver so many blessings, to be His hands and feet in the world. We should be enthusiastic about praising God in response to all of this, for we have been given so much.
While I think our focus should be on God as the ultimate source of these great gifts, I think it is probably a good thing to shower some enthusiasm on the giver as well. I think it would likely help spur on many more acts of kindness, of love and of devotion by that giver.
I am challenging myself and extending you an offer to join me. Can we receive enthusiastically today.
Beloved and Treasured Lord,
I long to praise You with all of the enthusiasm that I can muster. Help me to faithfully follow my daughter’s example, putting forth energy and effort into my response for all of the good gifts that You send my way.
Lord, may all of us be brimming with gratitude and praise for You. May it be through thought, word, song and with such vigor that roofs are raised.
Lord, through it all, could our responses make You smile in a way similar to how Zoey leaves me smiling by her response. You are good and so worthy praise.
In the sweet name of Jesus, amen.