This morning I noticed something and had an interesting experience: I allowed myself to freely receive something from someone else.
This probably doesn’t sound revolutionary to many of you, but the truth is that I’m terrible at opening my heart and freely receiving good things from others.
What was it I received?
A piece of peanut butter toast from my son Isaac.
I made coffee this morning and sat down and began working on getting some of our auto pay accounts transferred to our new bank account, a stressful but necessary task.
I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet.
Isaac came into the kitchen and started making some toast. It’s what we eat when I haven’t made oatmeal, eggs, or we’re not having cereal.
I actually asked him to make me some, too! This is super unusual for me, and I felt guilty asking him, as I’m the mom and like to serve him—not the other way around.
I like to be the one who serves. The one who is there for others. The one who helps. Not the one who asks for help or the one who receives it.
I’m terrible at receiving compliments, too. Someone will compliment me, and I give the credit to everyone else or even just to God.
Once, after a gentleman complimented me on something I had done, which I could not and did not really receive, Tony, my husband, overheard the conversation.
He told me later, “Stacey, he was trying to tell you that you made an impact on his life. What you did mattered enough to him that he took the time and energy to let you KNOW that it mattered. He was intentionally speaking up to encourage and bless you. Just say ‘Thank you’ and receive it.”
Ouch! Words from the wise.
I’m working hard to learn those two words and express them sincerely from my heart: “Thank you.”
Right now I have to bite my lip, basically, to learn to receive and internalize it when someone compliments me–to not keep talking to shut someone down and completely dismiss it.
It was so nice to keep working this morning while Isaac made me some toast and brought it to me! He handed it to me and I opened my hands and took it from him.
I said “Thank you, Isaac.”
I received it!
And then noticed as I said it that I felt true gratitude from my heart, and I genuinely meant it; and, I noticed how humbling it was to receive from him, even a small piece of toast.
(It wasn’t even on a plate. I took it and wondered, where am I supposed to put this messy toast as I’m working?! Haha! Gift horse in the mouth, and all. . . . True confession: we just moved and have used a lot of paper plates lately, and we’re out of them right now, so, there’s that. . . .)
I will tell Isaac later what his peanut butter toast really meant to me, how as I ate the creamy peanut butter on top of the crispy toast, it softened a little part of my heart and taught me a little about love and a little about my own responses to receiving, because he had no clue the revelation breakthrough really going on in my heart at the time.
I don’t think Isaac noticed any of this, to be honest, (probably) because it was all driven by my own issues, my own inner thoughts, and my own heart-to-mind conversation.
Have you noticed how deep emotions below the surface of our hearts are rarely shown on the surface?
Have you experienced true encouragement? Encouragement that reaches all the way into your soul?
Isn’t this why it is so important to share with others when they have impacted our lives?
We might not normally ever believe that the person we might share with ever needed to hear what we believe to be our piddly encouragement. But we all need it!
What is it Ecclesiastes says? There is a time for everything?
Could we also probably say there is a time to give and a time to receive?
And when we are receiving, we can receive with joy and gratitude, being thankful for what we are receiving.
The Bible actually has quite a bit to say about receiving when I did some research.
Most of it concerned receiving from God himself:
Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. John 16:24
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24
Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. Ecclesiastes 5:19
Is it okay to receive a gift from God?
The Bible recommends it! The Bible says we should even ask for things from God and receive them and allow it to make our joy complete.
It also states that ALL GOOD THINGS come from God that come into our lives.
“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”
36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:35-36
And in the Worldwide English translation, 36 All things come from God, through God, and return to God. Praise him for ever! Yes, it is so! (Romans 11:36 WE).
Then I looked at James 1:17:
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
So, really, I guess, that creamy peanut butter toast this morning came through Isaac from God!
I ASKED for it, and RECEIVED it with thankfulness! Humility, thankfulness, and joy filled my heart.
Then I also considered the law of giving and receiving mapped out in Luke and recognized the direct correlation between what I give to others and what I receive:
38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
In Isaac’s case, I’ve been giving to him for years!
Isn’t there a principle here, too? We raise our children, lovingly, in most cases, for many years, giving care to them; and, as we get older, they might begin to give some care back to us. (For the most part, though, I think parents will end up giving WAY more to the children, and the Bible says children are a blessing, too, so it’s all good that way!)
The final revelation for me was seeing that the greatest gift we can receive, after our salvation, is our ETERNAL INHERITANCE and ETERNAL REWARD directly from God when we are in heaven with him when our mortal lives are over and our bodies are in the grave:
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24
The final tally has not been counted. Not even close! The score card is being kept by God himself, and he is a just Judge and a compassionate one, too.
And Ephesians 6b,7,8a:
. . . [D]oing the will of God from your heart. 7 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, 8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do. . . .
Which cemented within me even more that we serve an audience of ONE. He alone knows every thought and deed and our motivations for all we do. He is noticing. He is counting. He is keeping track. We don’t have to and can trust him and leave it fully in his hands.
Has someone taken advantage of you? Hurt you? Taken from you? God knows it and sees it all.
But he is watching you, too. How will you respond? Because sometimes that’s all we can control.
Will you forgive from your heart and let it go? When you un-clench your fists and open your hands to forgive and let go they’re in the perfect position to receive peace, love, joy, hope, faith, and a reward in heaven from God.
He tells us to bless and not curse. Even if no one else hears you do it or sees you do it. God knows all things.
If you bless this person or these people who have used you or hurt you, God will reward you, either here on earth or in heaven, and you will be able to stand in front of God, extend your arms and hands, and say, “I receive my reward from you, Father, for forgiving this person and blessing and not cursing.”
We will receive our just reward and inheritance when we stand before the one true Judge who will deliver justice.
Hey, I’m going to practice receiving here on earth to prepare for when I receive in heaven!
To receive is not the bad thing we have come to believe it is. It is a gift from God himself and is preparing us to receive our spiritual inheritance in heaven.
Three Concepts to Receiving with Grace:
- Nobody is better than another. There is NO HIERARCHY of HUMANITY. A GIVER is no BETTER THAN a RECEIVER. But there might be a time to give and a time to receive. A season of giving and a season of receiving. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for my season of receiving! Admit you are just one piece, one small part of the human race–a wonderful, dazzling part– but one part only. We are all fallible. We are all imperfect in some way with weaknesses. We all make mistakes and are a part of the fallen race. We are all called to be humble givers and receivers and find joy in both roles.
- Humility can receive where pride and perfection cannot. Humility lowers its head and stands far off, but pride lifts its head with a stubborn stance. What will humility bring? It will end up allowing all who understand this concept to join hands in the circle of life and become a part of—not better than, not less than—everyone else. This is actually a wonderful concept: To be a part of a family, to receive an inheritance as a son or daughter form our heavenly Father, TO BELONG!
- Become a good giver AND a good receiver and understand that both roles are designed by God. Ask for what you want. Ask God. Ask people. Receive with gratitude and thankfulness. Also, give and it will be given to you, meaning be a giver, too. Stretch out your hands to receive and begin to practice a part of your heavenly stance! God, I receive what you want to give me today. Forgive me for my offensive pride and wrong ideology. I am a giver AND a receiver, and both roles are good and acceptable to you.
And finally, Matthew 10:42 makes it clear that the smallest acts of kindness will not go unnoticed by God: “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
A cup of cold water. A cup of hot coffee. A cup of hot tea, or in my case this morning, it was a piece of peanut butter toast: Food is power. This seemingly insignificant piece of toast had the power bless me!
Stacey D. Wheeler