Learning to Receive


You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” (Acts 20:35).

It really is more blessed to give than to receive.  I learned this in my years of giving hospitality to missionaries.  They left things in my house (by accident or as gifts).  They also left behind the priceless gift of an anointed atmosphere of prayer.  Recently someone told me: “Now it’s your turn to receive hospitality.”

The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed, (Proverbs 11:25).

To be honest, not only is it more blessed to give than to receive, it’s also a whole lot easier to give.  As long as I was the host, it remained my house, and most things went the way that I was most comfortable.  I was mostly in control.

Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender, (Proverbs 22:7).

Now that I’m on the receiving end, I can tell you that sometimes I long just to have some time to myself.  Not that I don’t appreciate hospitality, and not that I don’t enjoy being in the delightful activity of families with children.  I love being in the middle of it all.  But being a writer, I need time to myself to write.  A bit of silence to think and pray is very much appreciated.  And perhaps it’s because they are thinking of me, to make me feel accepted, that they include me in all of their activities.

This morning Silvia came for a visit over coffee.  Then she and Miriam got up to leave.  Because I had been included in all of their other activities, I thought I was expected to go with them.  Thankfully, this was not the case.  Silvia is going for elective surgery tomorrow, and Miriam will be taking her place at work.  So Silvia took her to show her the ropes.  This is how I found time to write today.

And it’s not only that I must learn to be generous with my time and energy in the house of others, but also it’s a matter of allowing them to do for me.  Lino and Miriam are not rich.  When I met them they were living at La Casa for partly financial reasons.  So when they wanted to share the riches of the food packs from Romania, it was hard for me to let them.  But I did, and it was amazing to see the joy on their faces when I learned how delicious these treats from Romania are.

Indeed, learning to receive puts you in a humble place: your time, your energy, your ego are all at the mercy of your hosts.  But there is also a special blessing in this place of humbly receiving.  And I know that God will bless them for sheltering, feeding, and sharing their life, and spending time and money on me.  I know because I’ve been there.

So now is my time to receive.  Lord, help me to receive graciously from those who offer me hospitality.  God is good!

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