Saturday, 21 June 2014

It's OK to Receive

Were you ever told by your parents to politely refuse offers of food from your neighbours? Mine did, not necessarily out of fear, but out of concern for the neighbours.

At that time, the custom in my home town was:  if you have visitors while eating, it is polite to ask them to join you in the meal. But because most of the people were poor, they really didn’t mean the offer. They often said it out of courtesy, hoping (and praying) that you would refuse. Very rarely did they ask twice!

As a result I grew up not knowing how to receive from people. I often felt people didn’t really mean it when they offered to help. I assumed I was causing them great inconvenience and they were just being polite. I am gradually losing this habit though.

Like me, many people feel the same way about God. We don’t want to bother God, we feel He has done so much already. We want to plough on, all by ourselves, certain there are others out there who have greater needs. We feel we would be wasting God’s time when there are more urgent situations for Him to deal with: countries to rescue from war, sinners to save, the devil to chase out of town,…

A passage in the Bible talks about how sad it is when we have this attitude, this inability to receive from a magnanimous God. It is in the Book of Second Samuel chapters 9 and 19 and the account of Mephibosheth, the lame son of Jonathan, grandson of King Saul.

After the deaths of his father and grandfather, King David bequeathed to Mephibosheth all their properties which had been seized earlier. He invited him to eat at his table always like one of the Princes. He also commanded Ziba, late King Saul’s servant, alongside his sons and servants, to work for him.

But we see that Mephibosheth had an attitude that made him feel unworthy of such blessings. In2 Sam 9:8, we read And he bowed himself, and said, What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?”

On the surface, it looks like humility but when we read further in chapter 19, we realise it isn’t really
humility. In this chapter, King David is returning back from self-imposed exile after his son Absalom is killed, due to his rebellion against his father. Prior to his return, Ziba, Mephibosheth’s servant had bad-mouthed him to David. David in anger gave all the properties  of Mephibosheth to Ziba. On his return back, Mephibosheth approached King David, explaining the deception and betrayal of Ziba. King David on learning this, asked  Mephibosheth and Ziba to share the properties. But guess what? Mephibosheth refuses and says Ziba could have everything, that he is happy David is well.

This would have been understandable if we didn’t know that Mephibosheth had a young son, Mika. This was a man, lame in both feet, who could barely take care of himself, talk less his child. And then he gets an opportunity to change his life and that of others, but he stalled because he is more concerned about the giver and a ‘I-don’t-deserve-anything-good’ mentality. As long as he ate regularly at the table of King David, he was okay. But what about his son?

In many ways, as Christians, we are too satisfied like Mephibosheth to remain dry,barely surviving
talk less of helping others. I am not referring to financial blessings here, but more importantly spiritual blessings and being all God wants us to be.

We have been blessed with gifts and talents, yet we are just happy to be saved and to enjoy the goodness of God alone. We are too afraid to utilize all our potentials and become channels of blessings to others due to fear, feelings of inferiority, etc.

God doesn’t view such things kindly, He considers it wickedness and laziness when we refuse to use the gifts He has given us to bear fruit. The Parable of the Talents points that out in Matthew 25:14-30 and shows that the Master of the servants (in this case our Master Jesus) was not impressed by excuses for unfruitfulness.

God wants us to receive freely from Him so we can give freely to others. He tells us in Psalm 81:10-11 to “Open wide your mouth and I will fill it. “But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me.

Again we read in John 4:14 that God wants us to have springs of living waters flow out of us. This will of course quench our thirst and that of others. We have a God who longs to bless us and use us to bless others. but that can only happen if we would receive first, because we can't give what we don't have. He won’t force our mouths open, but He wants us to open up so he can satisfy our thirst/hunger and then we can go on to satisfy others too.

Don’t worry about God, He has more than enough supply. All He needs is a willing person who will choose to open wide and receive. My prayer is that each of us will choose to receive joyfully from God and become fruitful instead of being another Mephibosheth.

Image1 courtesy:
Image2 courtesy:

No comments:

Post a Comment