In celebrating the 30th anniversary of our marriage, and commemorating a post-motorcycle accident, my husband and I recently invited family and friends to share in the event. Actually, it was a “covert operation” to thank them with our favorite things in the way of gifts for the “gifts” they had unselfishly given us over the past 4-5 years. Our guests were surprised by what they received. Each sat quietly in awe of what was presented to them during the narrated program. They were asked to humbly receive. It was clearly difficult to be such a recipient.
Recently our community of 1,000 residents lost our only grocery store to a blazing fire. It has impacted our main street in ways we hadn’t thought possible. No hustle and bustle to pick up last minute items before the 6:oo p.m. close, no coffee drinkers through the doors and no one standing by a cart chatting up the latest news. I began to think about our community and how the residents could, or would, ban together for a “makeover.” What does it take to come to the aid of others? What emotions will ensue? Will the residents be givers or takers? Will their actions be given graciously or will they need something in return?
I’ve been struggling with “humility” lately. Do we as the people of God always accept the gratitude of others with great humility or do we need a little fanfare to show our accomplishments? Am I willing to receive the gifts of salvation freely but perhaps not the gifts that others give to me unselfishly?
Looking back upon the evening of our anniversary celebration, it made me think about the gifts that we gather, known or unknown, spoken or whispered in the depths of our beings, that carry us through each day. As Christians we know what gifts we receive everyday without permission and without merit. We often receive a gift without our knowing or asking.
We have all found it difficult to receive from others what we might freely offer to others. I’m not sure that I would graciously accept such gifts. Am I a taker where the world owes me something or am I a giver asking for nothing in return?
What have you received or given lately?
Syd Brinkman, of Allison, Iowa, is currently serving her second term on the churchwide executive board.