June Devotion: How do you receive?

Reading:  Acts 2:2-3

Reflection:

Imagine opening the front door to find a Super Sweepstakes team with balloons and a big check. Now, imagine that you look right past them, pick up your mail, and close the door; or, you decline the check and argue that you’re not ready to handle $10 million. Both responses sound unlikely, right?

Pentecost is a perfect time to think about the receiving side of stewardship. For most of us, gifts from God don’t come with balloons or wrapped in tongues of fire. So, it makes sense to tune in to God’s more subtle packaging. Here are three actions that can help.  

1. Claim your talents. The best way to demonstrate that you’re thankful for your God-given talents is to use them. Listen to other women when they affirm your talents. Are you surprised? Do they see talents you didn’t know you had? How can they help you recognize when you’re focusing too much on one talent and not using another?

2. Seize an opportunity. Have you been asked to speak or accept an assignment, and you’re scared silly? You wouldn’t give back that $10 million because you didn’t feel prepared, right? If the opportunity seems like it might be a gift from God, go for it. Or, to put it another way, if you think you could use this opportunity to do good work, to share God’s gifts with the world, consider going for it. Trust that God is always with you.

3. Allow others to give. If you or someone you love is in trouble, don’t hide it. Others are ready to help. Imagine how arrogant it must sound to God to hear us say, “I can handle this on my own.” Yes, God loves a cheerful giver, and it’s a good bet that God loves a generous receiver, too.

Offering focus:

Your offerings to Women of the ELCA provide for resources that equip women’s ministries to celebrate the wonder of God’s gifts in our lives, and for Women of the ELCA events, like the Ninth Triennial Convention and Ninth Triennial Gathering, where decisions are made and actions taken to proclaim God’s gifts to the world.

Prayer:

God whose Spirit moves in our lives, thank you for empowering this community of women to affirm each other’s gifts by giving and receiving. Amen.

This devotion is adapted from a stewardship devotion written by Sue Edison-Swift for Women of the ELCA in 1999.


Past devotions:

May devotion: Thanks for taking my money