The Art of Receiving

A few weeks ago, my friend Jason Clement was watching TV late at night when he randomly checked his email on his iPhone. Seeing iTunes had sent him a receipt for resent purchases that he couldn’t quite recall buying, he skimmed the message.

“$45?” he said, looking bewildered, as it wasn’t just the price tag that shocked him, but the context. “In-app purchase of Dino-what?”

Like any good dad, he touched base with his high schooler, Autumn. Knowing she wasn’t the dinosaur-gaming-addict the bill claimed she was, it soon became clear what had happened.

That week Autumn had babysat The Hopper Kids. And I’ll freely admit, even Judah, at just 2.5 years old, can work his way around an iPhone and iPad with shocking dexterity. Maybe without thinking, or maybe without knowing, Autumn’s iPhone was commandeered.

My three eldest then went on a dino-shopping spree that, taking into account a few million years of inflation and ancient currency forms, was tantamount to what the White House threw away to Solyndra.

Yesterday morning when Jason stopped by to pick me up at the house, in view of all the children, Jennifer handed him $45 cash. He waved it off, reminding us that it was a good lesson for Autumn. But still Jennifer insisted. When he declined it a second time, a little voice piped up below them.

“I’ll have it,” Luik said, hand innocently outstretched.

The story still makes me laugh. But Luik’s willingness to effortlessly take ownership of the cash – a sum he doesn’t have any true sense of value for, accept in maybe how many rounds it can buy him at the candy claw game at CiCi’s – reminded me of another story. One where a Manhattan pastor bet a visiting friend that it would take over an hour to give away a $100-bill for free on a midtown street corner. The friend argued it’d be gone in mere minutes.

In the end, it took over 2 hours to give away.

And the wealthier accepter of the bill? An 8-year old girl who simply asked the pastor, “Excuse me, mister, but is that $100 really free?”

“It really is,” he smiled.

“Thanks!” and with that she walked away smiling.

Jesus wasn’t being figurative when He said we needed faith like a child. He meant every word. Somehow we adults have a hard time receiving; I know I do. Having a strong work ethic, an appreciation for time, and a value of the intangible qualities of life will stoke that fire.

But so will pride.

While there’s always the playground hotshot to be seen, I’ve found that most children are not yet victims of the one thing that keeps most adults from receiving from God. Pride.

May I challenge your attitude toward receiving from the Lord today?

If its being offered, I want it. God, if you’re making it available, I’ll have it.

Receiving is an art birthed in children, lost on adults, and forced on the elderly. Yet the Giver continues to make His gifts available to us all.

Receive. It helps life move forward. ch:

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  • Wow… That really hit home. Made me think that if we can’t recieve gifts from others, how are we at receiving gifts from God.
    Even gifts like compliments, God sometimes uses others to give us love & praise. Rejecting them is really rejecting God. Thanks for sharing this.
    Loved the story about Luik, smart kid.

  • Incredible! I would not have believed it would take two hours to give away $100 on the street (for free)…. until today. Serious. I posted on my blog this morning that I need ideas of companies (like Hello Somebody) to give the money my blog makes. Nothing, Not a single idea, so a couple hours later, I shared it again on facebook with the comment, “Who should I give this money too?”

    Nothing. Not even smart remarks like “oooh! me me!”

    So now, I am sharing it again as “I have about $500, who should I give it to?” and see if I get anything. Who would believe it would be so hard to give this money away?

    For those with ideas: http://www.crmooney.com/2011/11/03/charitable-causes-needed/

    • Man, astounding. Truly. Yours is yet another example. (And yet we have a government that wouldn’t mind taking it off your hands).

      • Well, that one worked. I have quite a few suggestions now!Seems like I just had to put a big $$ out there.

  • As always great post! Autumn is going to keep a closer eye on your tech savvy little ones 😉 This post is sort of funny timing for me. My sister and I went shopping for a Harvest Party last week that we were throwing together. At the checkout it all came up to cost a lot more than we had planned. Counting out all our cash and digging in our purses for more, the gentleman behind us hands us a twenty dollar bill, “My dad was a pastor. Times are hard right now and I like blessing others.” We were already somewhat embarrassed by our items we were buying for our annual Harvest Party Fear Factor game, (like liver cheese, beef baby food, potted meat, and anchovy paste) so our pride did get the best of us. Of course I say no thank you, that is so kind of you, but we are truly okay, and to please bless someone else with it. I could tell it surprised him and I hope he doesn’t feel odd for trying to help another person someday. We can be a little stubborn on receiving, too prideful and not humble… “I can take care of myself.” God gives everyday and a lot of us ignore his gifts. Thank you again for a great post. It blessed me.

    • Ryan: thanks for sharing that story.

      You bring up a great point – though I understand at your own expense to some degree – which is “how do we make the giver feel with our acceptance (or un-acceptance) of their gift?” Our pride doesn’t just hurt us when we refuse (resulting in our lack), but often the person who decides in their heart to give, and then is rejected.

      I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of “giving being better than receiving,” and if I’m robbing people of their blessing by not receiving what they have to give?

      Heavy stuff, but there are secrets to be found in there.

  • This one speaks to me, dude. Isn’t it God who said, “Test me and find that I am good,” and “If my child asks me for bread, will I give him a stone instead?” and “if you being evil can give good gifts, how much more will God give?” All I know is, Lord Jesus, I want anything you offer me. Anything and everything. Amen.

    • Yep, He said all those for sure. Good scriptural reminders, bro. Amen, and amen; I echo your prayers.

  • Wow, this post blessed me! When I saw the title, “The Art Of Receiving,” I gave it a double-take, because I added a post to my blog on Sunday with the exact same title!

    I like the point you brought up about people having difficulty receiving a $100. I’ve heard that before, and it really makes me stop and think. It’s easy for me to give (most of the time), but sometimes it’s harder to receive. But before I can fully appreciate giving, I must learn to appreciate receiving.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Chris. You made my day!

    Jonathan