Free to give and receive
Tony was going to struggle to drive to his hospital appointment, when he was clearly not well enough to do so.
When his neighbour found out, he knocked on his door and offered Tony a lift.
But Tony turned down the offer saying: "I’ll be alright."
When the neighbour had gone, Tony’s wife asked him why he had not accepted the offer.
I think you can guess what his response was:
"I don’t want charity" he said.
Tracey was watching the news with her husband, when images of an earthquake on the other side of the world flashed onto their screen.
Her husband said: "That is terrible - what can we do to help them?"
He was rather surprised by Tracey’s response:
"We have got enough problems of our own here in the UK - we don’t need to help other countries too."
Both of these stories are distressing:
Tony does not want to receive.
Tracey does not want to give.
(For the sake of confidentiality, Tony & Tracey’s stories are a combination of many people’s stories, with names and details changed.)
But you may find that you identify with Tony or Tracey in some ways too.
Learning to give and learning to receive is a real battle for many of us.
And Jesus can set us free.
There is a real blessing when we open ourselves to receive from God, and from the people he has placed around us.
And there is real blessing too - when we open ourselves to the needs of others.
If you ask God - he will set you free to give and to receive.
It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Acts 20:35 (NIV)
Freely you have received; freely give.
Matthew 10:8 (NIV)