The topic of receiving has been coming up a lot in my life this past month. It started when I read the story of Mary again and was struck by how she willingly received everything that God was offering to her. Then I pulled a muscle on the day we were hosting a Canada Day party and had to receive a lot of help from my guests. As well, for a week, my modem had issues and my email program would only receive emails and I could not send anything. Okay, okay, I get it.
I have become much more aware of how badly I still receive. As a result, I have modified my behaviour and attitude in quite a few ways, indeed I have. I don't often pray, "God, I need this one thing," but I say, "God, what are you offering me today?" I consciously try to accept and embrace prayers, gifts, help, and true words from others and from God. I say, "I receive," a lot to remind myself not to be so self-reliant. So on Sunday morning when I was asking God what to speak on that night, I was surprised when the receiving thing came up again. I get it, really I do, so why is he still on this topic? I guess I still have things to learn. Here is some of what I brought on Sunday night to my friends.
Some basics about receiving things that God brings my way:
1. Receiving is not passivity, self-centredness, nor accepting everything people offer me. It is not becoming a yes-man (or woman) without discernment.
2. Receiving is not bartering or trading or making an even deal. It is just receiving.
3. It is not becoming a taker instead of a giver. It is getting these two things in the right perspective and order (see the example of Mary and Martha in Luke 10).
4. God ALWAYS has something to give.
5. Until I have the spirit of God living and moving in me like Jesus did, I have a lot more receiving to do.
6. We tend to think of learning in terms of completion instead of maturing (yep, took that course on love, got it down). Maturing happens every moment of every day.
Jesus pointed out that the goal is not to overcome evil and do good. The focus is on God and what he brings to our lives and to the world. "The great triumph is not in your authority over evil, but in God's authority over you and presence with you. Not what you do for God but what God does for you - that's the agenda for rejoicing. (Matthew 10:19-20 in The Message).
Here are some obstacles to being a good receiver (think football):
1. Being out of position. We must be willing to move, to keep our eye on the ball, to run hard if we have to.
2. Expecting or asking for inappropriate things. "Toss me the guitar!"
3. Something blocks our line of sight or stops the ball from getting to us (interception). This could be: fear, worry, control, self-reliance, self-absorption, and an unwillingness to leave our safety zone. But we really cannot score if we never leave our own zone.
If I think I am a good receiver, I just have to ask myself: do I have enough? Do I have enough love in my life? Enough authority over evil, sickness and death? Do I have enough peace in all circumstances? Do I have enough faith that nothing is impossible with God? Do I have enough comfort and hope in tough times? Do I have enough joy and patience in my everyday life? Do we have enough hope for the future? Do we have enough power and strength to change the things that need to be changed? If we don't, then we need to learn to be better receivers.
Football players practise every day; they work hard to become good receivers and do things that the rest of us only marvel at. Click here for some inspirational football stunts. We can become good receivers, but it means changing how we think, act, and position ourselves.
What is God offering me today? Am I in a position to receive it? Is anything blocking me from receiving it? I receive. God help my un-receiving heart.
This is a football practice in St. Catherines, Ontario. Go team!