Friday, July 11, 2008

Becoming a Good Receiver

In Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan, the Samaritan helped a man who was robbed of his money and clothes and left half dead. The Samaritan bound his wounds, cared for him, and took him to an inn. The Samaritan also paid the host two pence to take care of the injured man and agreed to repay the host if the cost was higher. (Luke 10:30–35) The Samaritan had to first receive financial means before he could give of his means to care for the robbed and injured man. It can be understood, then, that to be good givers, we must also be good receivers.

What makes someone a poor receiver? One of the factors is a belief in the myth “I am not worthy or deserving of prosperity.” A belief in this myth prevents us from achieving our full financial potential. God is the ultimate giver. He wants to give us the gifts of prosperity and abundance. Our role is to learn to be a good receiver and accept God’s gifts. Many who do not feel worthy or deserving of financial abundance reject God’s gifts. What good is a gift if it is not received? A rejected gift hurts both the giver and the receiver because the receiver gives up the joy of the gift and the giver is denied the joy and blessings of giving the gift.

Don’t Rob Me of My Blessings
While serving in a missionary ministry in Hawaii, I associated with many wonderful Christians. The Polynesians regarded representatives of Christ with the same respect and honor as they did their chiefs. As I preached the gospel, people of all denominations would impart to us of their time, food, possessions, and money in support of the Lord’s work. They knew the Lord would bless them for their sacrifices.

On one particular occasion, when I was walking along the Kamehameha Highway, a car pulled up right along side me. As we were both in motion, a man rolled down his window and handed me a $20 bill. At first I didn’t realize what he was handing me but when I found that it was money I kindly refused and tried to return it. As I ran after the car the man said, “Don’t rob me of my blessings.” He sped away leaving me with a $20 bill I felt I shouldn’t have. Receiving gifts and money became a regular occurrence. Being new to Hawaii and not fully understanding the culture, I tried to refuse gifts and money that were constantly offered me. I quickly learned not to do this. Each time I tried to refuse the gifts, the giver would get upset and say, “Don't rob me of my blessings!” I learned that by humbly accepting gifts I could, in turn, faithfully promise the giver that they would be blessed for their sacrifice.

The Polynesians believed that the more a representative of Christ ate the more blessings they would receive. Joe, a 300-pound Tongan, took me out to eat and I ate until I couldn’t eat another bite. After we finished, Joe went to the cashier to pay for the meals. As Joe began to pay, the cashier said, “Sir, someone has already paid for the meals.” Joe looked around the restaurant and called out loudly, “Who robbed me of my blessings?” The restaurant went quiet. Joe was disappointed that he had not been able to pay for the meals and thus was robbed of his blessings. In an attempt to still receive blessing for feeding a representative of Christ, he told the cashier that we were going to eat again and this time not to let anyone else pay for the meals. This experience taught me not only to be a good receiver, but also to be a big eater.

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