Friday, July 8, 2016

Jumping Ahead in My Wee Book of Prayers

Looking back at events in my life I found the following prayer somewhat interesting:

" Lord, sometimes it's easier to give than receive.  I want to be a giver, to take the time to care and help my friends when they need it.  And help me to learn to receive, too--so that I'm not too proud to receive generosity from a friend."  Amen

Well, the part about being able to see the needs of others and attempt to assist them is a prayer every Christian needs to be praying, but what I found interesting is the idea that it is difficult to receive.

 I can't speak for this particular author, but sometimes prayers like this are written by someone who has never been so financially or emotionally or morally desperate that any gift of help and support, from anyone, at any time is welcomed, false pride going out the window in the face of extreme hardship. 

There are times when receiving in order to keep living is so necessary that there is no question of false pride, no question of refusing the offered assistance.

I hope this prayer and others like it touches the hearts of many who have not experienced times of severe need.  It is easy to put our own presumptive pride upon those who are suffering and assume they will be too proud to receive the help the Holy Spirit is prompting us to give.

Don't assume that people in need will be embarrassed by your offers of help.  Chances are they will embrace you with open arms and deep gratitude.  Even if need is new to them and they do struggle to receive, don't let it put you off helping them anyway.  Give according to their needs: if they need money to pay utility bills or rent, don't give them gift certificates from a gift store, give them cash.  If they need groceries, take them shopping.  If they need gasoline in their cars, fill up those gasoline tanks. If they need a listening ear, put away your shock at what they share with you and just listen to their problems, perhaps suggesting a good counsellor and helping them pay for sessions. 

As we look around there are many obvious needs even among our own family, friends and church communities.  Give and give and give.  The Lord will not only bless those you give to, He will bless you beyond measure at times when you most need it in the future. It's how it works in God's Kingdom economy.

I know all this for a fact....learning often the hard way, but learning nonetheless. 

1 comment:

chris e. said...

Amen to your whole post! Obviously the person who wrote the prayer has never really had their back to the wall. When you need help badly enough, you KNOW how to say yes!
Giving appropriately is so important. How well I remember that from when my husband was a student. His income was gone, I had taken a drop in pay, then our rent went up about 50%. There wasn't really enough money for food, never mind anything else. Some well meaning relatives, knowing we were broke, took us out to a fancy restaurant for dinner. Neither of us had appropriate clothes, or the emotional capacity to sit and make small talk, knowing each of our meals cost more than what we had to live on each week. I couldn't even smile politely through the ordeal.
How much better the gift we received from my husband's grandparents, two wonderful people who had never really had much and raised 3 boys through the Depression. Knowing we had little money, they sent a Safeway gift certificate for Christmas. Talk about being thrown a lifeline! I still (almost 40 years later) get teary-eyed remembering how wonderful it was bringing home those bags of groceries, knowing that for the next week or two there would be more than enough to eat.
I hope the next prayer installment in your book is "Lord, show me how to help appropriately!"