Givers and Takers

Giff’s mom came for a visit this weekend — something we had been looking forward to for weeks. We packed a lot into her 2-day (51-hour) visit (eating out, shoe shopping for twins’ early birthday presents, hot air balloon launch, annual block party, etc.). Seemed like she just got here though when it was time to take her to the airport!

So on Sunday, instead of rushing to the airport, we decided to eat breakfast at Panera and make our way there on Hwy 83–a more scenic, leisurely route. After we stopped for a potty break about 40 minutes away from DIA, we got back in the truck and it didn’t start. I could feel Giff’s stress levels rise the minute he tried to turn the key. Great, just one more thing that demands our attention! We were no longer on a leisurely trip on Hwy 83. We were now on a mission to get my mother-in-law to the airport ON TIME to catch her flight home!!!

Giff asked someone if they could help by jumping our battery. The first guy seemed hesitant to help, but he did. The truck’s battery was not turning over. Another guy came over and offered to help by “double jumping” the battery. We were so appreciative of his offer. He had his pregnant wife and his toddler with him. The double jumping seemed to work, but as we were trying to leave, the truck stopped again. The only thing we knew to do was ask this family if they could take Giff to the nearest Advanced Auto Parts store a couple of miles away. Something I imagine would be scary to anyone.

The husband looked at his wife.

The wife looked at the husband.

Nervously, they decided to do it.

The rest of us waited at the gas station. As they were leaving, Giff thanked them profusely and told them that we only knew one person in Parker, Colorado, and we probably would not be able to get a hold of him because he would be at church. The wife told Giff, “As long as you don’t mind riding in our truck with a couple unchurched people, we’ll take you!”

This whole weekend, I felt like a “taker!” I am tired of being a “taker!” By that I mean, I don’t like being on the receiving end; I want to finally have my life all wrapped up tight with a nice little bow on it. I want to be more of a “giver!”

That sounds so righteous, doesn’t it?

But in actuality, I believe that sentiment is rooted in pride. P-R-I-D-E!!! God wants us to give when He says “give,” and He wants us to receive when He brings His provision–however He chooses to bring the provision. It’s not up to me to dictate! I am realizing more and more how much pride I have in my life. It’s not pretty!

Growing up I felt it was a weakness to need someone. I should be self-sufficient! I should pull myself up by my own bootstraps. Something was wrong with me if I needed someone, especially if I needed them more than they were willing to give.

I am not called to have a perfect little life with need of nothing or anyone. I am called to obedience to His Word and His voice. I am called to keep in step with His Spirit regardless of what I think. If He chooses to use the unchurched people in our lives, it’s not up to us to question. Yet, in my mind, it should be the other way around, and maybe that’s why God chooses to move this way … a lot! We, the Christians, should be the ones offering help to those who are not believers. And yes, that is biblical. However, I think sometimes He humbles us by being on the receiving end.

There are a few things I learned yesterday through all of this:

• We are all needy at some point or another–churched or unchurched. Our need on Sunday was a ride with strangers a couple of miles away to get a battery. Whether big or small, we are all needy at some point. We’ve been needy when our 2-week-old son was in surgery. We’ve also helped someone in need when they needed a ride to the post office. It rains on the just and the unjust.

• God uses what and who He wants to bless us and to bless others. There have been numerous occasions when Giff and I have felt so dry spiritually, like we are hanging on by a thread, especially in navigating how to best raise our son with special needs. I remember having one particular difficult time at church with Andrew. He was restless and agitated and melting down. As Giff took him out to the hallway, I turned around to see a few women watching him as Andrew was kicking Giff and screaming at him. It made my heart sank. I was embarrassed. I wanted to crawl in a hole and stay there for a very long time. Again, my life has never been neatly wrapped and tied up with a bow.

Throughout the week, I was trying to compose an email to apologize to this one woman in particular that she had to see Andrew at his worst and Giff trying to calm him down. But before I could hit the send button, I got an email from her telling me how she was blessed by how we parent all of our boys, especially Andrew. She loves to watch us in our interactions with all four of our boys. In our weakness, we blessed her. She saw God’s strength!

• Sometimes God calls us to be givers when we feel we have nothing to give. I often wonder how Elijah felt when he asked that widow for a meal in I Kings 17:7-16. I would think that would be very humbling. After the brook dried up, God told Elijah to go to Zarephath and that he was to ask a widow for food and drink.

Wait….what?!

Shouldn’t the mighty prophet of God be supplying the widow and her son their food and drink? Matter of fact, when Elijah asked her, the widow was collecting sticks in order to make their last meal. They were going to eat it and then die! Elijah then said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread     for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son.” It doesn’t make sense to me that Elijah would ask for something first from a starving woman and her son. Yet that is what God said to do, so he did. Because of Elijah’s obedience, God promised that this widow and her son would be taken care of.

Surely the widow felt she had nothing to give. Yet, when God said to give, she gave.

• As we receive, we turn around and give–sometimes out of our need, sometimes from our abundance. There’s no hard fast rule to follow. That’s why it’s important to keep in step with the Spirit’s voice (Galatians 5:25).

There is a time to give and a time to receive! Money is tight right now, but I wanted to bless this couple somehow. I’ve had a Baby Gap gift card for some time. I can be a giver and bless their new little one that is on its way. It feels sooooo good!

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Are there times in your life you’ve had a difficult time giving? Have there been times when you’ve struggled in receiving? I’d like to hear about them. Comment below and tell me about them.

 

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