In the Word: On the Receiving End

What Jesus really meant about becoming like little children.

Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it. Luke 18:17 (NRSV)"It's not only more blessed to give than to receive," says Frederick Buechner, "it's also a whole lot easier."It's easier to give, because we then work from our strength. We work from the human resource center that God has opened in each of us. We offer somebody a willing hand or an encouraging word, and we know we've been on holy ground. We've gone into union with God. Even our tears can bless a suffering person with the knowledge—the irreplaceable knowledge—that he matters to us, that his suffering makes us suffer. Because of the bounteous way we've been created, we have value to confer on others, and we've got freedom to decide how much value to confer, and when to do it, and to whom.Of course we make bad decisions all the time. We give full attention to people who don't need it and we ignore people who do. We give a lot to people who are already full, and we scrimp with people who hunger—maybe people who hunger for no more than a word of praise. We try to give something to someone, but we go about it in a patronizing way that makes the recipient wish we hadn't bothered. We mess up our giving all the time. Still, to have something to give is to be like God.So what if you didn't have anything to give? What if you had to be on the receiving end all the time? You'd feel passive. You'd feel dependent. You'd feel as if your balance of trade was way out of whack. Many people worry about this. They think, What if I get so sick that strangers have to give me a bath? What if I get paralyzed? What if I get caught in some disastrous sin and need help just to get out of bed and face the wreckage?One of the terrible ...

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In the Word: On the Receiving End
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