I’ve always known and repeated the common phrase, it is better to give than to receive (it is from the Bible, by the way- found in Acts 20:35). I have realized recently, however, that although from the outside my life may appear to have some “giving” attributes, my heart still has a long way to go to get to where God wants me to be.
My awesome pastor has a huge heart to help those he is leading understand the blessed life of giving. From him I have learned that it is in giving ourselves away that we are then able to receive all that God wants to give us.
An example of this working its way into my life happened just last night. I was at a “Business Prayer Meeting” at my church (you don’t have to have a business to attend- it’s just a time to come before God, to pray for the business sector and those in it, and to seek God’s heart through worship and prayer.) While there, our pastor had us spend about 90% of the time in worship of God and prayer for the world, especially for the unrest in the Middle East, for our nation, and for the other people in the room. The last few minutes of the meeting were geared toward us hearing from God for ourselves. While I expected the whole meeting to be about praying for myself/my area of work/my needs, God flipped the agenda and through that He opened my eyes to how concerned I have been with my own world, needs, worries, and how unconcerned I have been with that of others.
This structure of prayer allowed God to refocus my heart on others and on what God is doing outside of myself, so that He could speak and I would actually be able to receive what He is speaking to me. Sometimes in order to be more receptive to God, to friends, to encouragement, to help, to blessings, we have to have open hands...hands that have been doing some giving away, instead of only taking. Some investing, instead of only cashing in. Some sowing, instead of only wanting to reap immediate rewards.
What I am getting at here is the principle of open hands. Freely and readily opening our hands with an offering- of love, of money, of prayer, of kindness, of encouragement, so that our hands are then open to receive, rather than clenched to our own agendas, fears and plans.
God’s heart is so good that He doesn’t just want us to give to get, but He wants to change even our motives and make us people who are willing to give, without getting. To give with no glory. To give for the sake of honoring Him and loving others.
It is then, when our hearts are willing to give without expecting to receive, that we are postured to be able to receive all He as for us. Our capacity to receive and walk in all that God has for us dramatically increases when we are not so worried about our selves, but are instead concerned with the needs of others before our own.
God wants me to be about His business. In the process of being in touch with His heart for the world, for my nation, for my neighbors, I trust that He will transform my heart to be more like His. Oh, that is my desire.
God- I repent for consistently coming to you with a consistently self-focused heart.
I have been at your feet, but how often have I missed your heart?
I am so sorry and I want to receive your heart for the world more than anything. I want my heart to beat in tune with Your heart. I want to open my hands and my heart and give my life away on behalf of others for the glory of Your name.
When we are willing to lay down our lives, not looking to receive anything in return, our hearts have endured another round of refining and are becoming more pure, more resembling of His. After all, isn’t that the point?
Thanks for listening as God, my Master Potter, molds and refines me.
~ Wrapped in His Affection ~