The title of this blog, the “Joy of Receiving” may surprise a few at first but the role a Christian plays in accepting something is as important in the role they play in giving. We have heard the phrase, “it is truly better to give than to receive” but like all reciprocal relationships, there needs to a proper balance.
If one only takes, then obviously one can detect a clear selfish individual who preys upon the generosity of others. If one only takes, then they are unable to share, or help others in life. These individuals tend to be more materialistic and greed filled. They feel no need to share their talents, or share their gifts to others. They care very little for the poor or others in need. The thought of making someone’s else day a better day through a simple generous gesture is beyond their comprehension. Ultimately, they are unable to experience the reciprocity of love because they only take. I feel many of the Biblical warnings of greed and selfishness address their spiritual deficiencies.
And yet upon the opposite spectrum, while the Christian who only gives truly sees the more spiritual path, they must also learn to occasionally take with joy as well. If they do not learn to accept or take, then first, how can they ever accept the greatest gift of all, redemption? Jesus Christ gave us the ultimate gift through his death and we must accept this gift without hesitation if we are to have salvation.
In this reality, love is a reciprocal act. It is not poached through greed or selfishness but mutual self-giving. Love is a reciprocal action of mutual giving and receiving. In this reality, a Christian must not only give, but also be able to receive. This is critical to understand if one is to understand love and its relational status.
Those who tend to the extreme of only giving, fail to experience the love of being accepted, being loved and given something special, but they also fail to allow others to experience the same joy of giving they experience. Sometimes even the saintly fail in this category. They are very dismissive to receive from another out of an over religious zeal of unworthiness. At the other extreme, some may feel the obligation to give and give out of a sense of duty and when that duty is challenged, their pride is hurt.
Jesus taught us the opposite. He gave completely but when the times came, he permitted others the joy of giving. We see this clearly when the women at the house cleaned his feet with the most previous oils. We also see it at his birth, when the Magi brought the three precious gifts.
As Christians, we must have a balanced spiritual life. We must give as Christ gave, but we must also allow others to experience the joy of giving as well. This means letting go of possible pride, or false unworthiness and accept gifts with Christian joy. In doing so, we balance the reciprocity of love and allow others to experience the gift of giving itself. We must learn to accept gifts, the way we accept Christ’s ultimate gift on the cross with love. In doing so, we will better be able to share in the reciprocity of love that is both giving and accepting.
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