Just my Thoughts · Religion

Giving and Receiving

I was sitting in church yesterday, listening to Deacon George’s homily.  Okay, I admit I don’t know if people other than priests give homilies but Deacon George was talking about the readings of the day and really hitting home with me.  And while I couldn’t tell you exactly what the verses were I will explain more as I go here.

First, the second reading of the day was from Colossians.  I really paid attention because  my youngest goes to a youth group at another church.  I am happy he wants to associate with other kids who are Christians and our church does not have a youth group like this anymore.  This month they are discussing some readings from Collosians.

Deacon George spoke about how different people like to give and to receive.  He talked of how receiving is so much more difficult.  To give to someone else puts the giver in control.  The giver is the one that has what is being given.  The giver has the timing in his or her hands.  The receiver is having to accept.  It seems hard for humans to accept almost anything from others.  We all want to be strong.  We all want to be able to do “it” – whatever it is – on our own, independently.  These words were taking me back to last fall and a discussion of needing someone.

The Gospel reading was one that I have heard many times but never looked at this way.  It is a reading about Mary and Martha – sisters – who are receiving Jesus and some friends for a meal.  I admit I cannot remember which sister was always doing the preparing, the cooking – Martha, I believe – while the other sister – Mary – sat and listened to Jesus as he preached, taught, talked.  Martha, if my memory is correct, eventually questioned why Mary was always not helping.

The discussion in the hmily went along the lines of being able to listen.  Do you know how?  I know listening is difficult.  When I am trying to just listen to a friend – especially if that friend is hurting, I want to jump in solutions, questions.  I have come, though, with age and many experiences, to discover that I need to just listen and not comment, question or try to fix.  Sometimes, as it was with Mary, listening is enough.  Listening is the most we can do.

Are you more a giver or a receiver?  Do you find one to be more difficult to handle?

What about listening?  Can you just listen?  Do you want to fix or question or comment as you listen?

18 thoughts on “Giving and Receiving

  1. This post hit home for me. I am by nature a giver. But after my accident left me paralyzed from the neck down, I was forced to learn how to receive. I struggled for a long time to accept this change and to find a way to feed my self-worth by continuing to give. I think that I have successfully managed to rebuild a new, meaningful life in a new body. And yes, I can still give in my own unique way.

    We need to take time to listen to one another. Time is a gift I now have. Luckily for my friends, I am a captive audience and therefore a good listener. I’ve also learned that friendship is not about the physical acts that we can do for one another but it goes far deeper than that.

    I think that I now have the best of both worlds. I have got the ability to give as well as to receive.

  2. Interesting thoughts on giving/receiving….I never thought of it that way, but you’re right, it is more difficult to receive. I give a lot to people (I think, anyway) but I am not very good at accepting help. I am working on this though. Accepting my husband’s or friend’s help and just saying thank you instead of trying to refuse it.

    Listening – yeah, I thought I was a good listener until you pointed out that maybe I try to jump in and “fix” things too much. I need to just listen.

    Thanks Nicki!

  3. Great post Nicki. I tend to think of myself as a good listener, unless it is something I am really excited about. Then I tend to interject with random exclamations of excitement, which defeats the purpose of listening. I’m a work in progress! 🙂

  4. Thank you so much for coming by my blog! I loved reading all the insights from the Mary & Martha story. I know I am much more prone to giving and never thought about it being bec control feels good. It makes complete sense though. I have been working hard on listening more. Both to others and to God. In fact, last night I was praying for him to help me listen and then BAM today in my Bible reading he laid out the answer to my questions. Awesome. Thanks for visiting and now I’m off to find you on Twitter since I see you have it. 🙂

  5. You know, I think there’s also a stigma around this. Our society values givers more than receivers, in addition to the fact that giving is easier on its face. Graciously accepting a gift, or help, or charity is difficult. We like to think we are too self-sufficient to need any of these things, but we all need them at some point. We may as well learn to accept them with class.

    1. You are right, Gale. Accepting is difficult. It is a learned skill and one we all need to work on.

  6. I’m definitely a giver. To a fault, actually. I give and give and give and never have the wherewithal to ask for help when I need it.

    A good lesson to keep in mind. Because I think most people, deep down, really WANT to help, if only we would let them.

  7. This was so good to read. It truly is hard to receive, isn’t it? I think it is a very great way to show the giver that you love them though. You are letting them have a blessing. I used to resist when people wanted to buy us dinner or do things for us and now I just graciously say thank you.

    Great post!

  8. Oh, I LOVE to give. But I’m pretty gracious at receiving most things, I think. Except, well, I hate being told what to do. That’s probably some kind of bad receiving on my part … Good concepts to think about, Nicki!

    1. I do have some problems with being told what to do. I think I have been independent so long that I don’t like someone thinking I don’t know what to do.

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