Giving and Receiving
“…without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.” - Romans 1:9-11; 15:24-26
To what extent would Paul travel to impart a spiritual gift and receive a material gift for others? The answer is that he would make great sacrifices and suffer untold hardships to be a vessel of giving. To impart a spiritual gift enriched the lives of those receiving the gift. But it also enriched the life of the church. Receiving a monetary gift would enrich the church. But it would also bless the giver and the recipient of the gift. Paul himself would be encouraged by the opportunity to participate in this process. When true Spirit-filled, God-directed giving takes place, no one loses and everyone gains. In the tangible expressions of our submission to God there is no subtraction, only multiplication.
To view life this way requires that we step out of ourselves and understand our significance as part of something larger than our own interests. We must deny ourselves to the extent that our hopes, dreams, and preferences are of lesser importance than the Kingdom of God.
From whence comes such a radical attitude? It comes from the place of prayer where we learn to say, “the will of God” with deep reverence and joyous anticipation. It comes from the exercise of His presence in devotion and contemplation of His Word. It comes from earnest seeking in the closet of solitude where He changes our heartbeat to pulsate with His own rhythm. In short, the attitude that embraces the twin Christian graces of giving and receiving comes from God Himself.
Come and See
“And the woman left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, ’Come, see a man, who told me all the things that I ever did. Is this not the Christ?’” – John 4:28-29
Are we too attached to our water pots to carry the call of Jesus to our cities? Are we so fixated on our trivial tasks that we cannot leave them to bear witness to His power, grace, and truth?
Here was a woman with the worst reputation in the village and she went to the very people with whom she had made her reputation. To the men of the city, with whom she had no credibility at all, she declared the credibility of Jesus. At least they would talk to her. And she did it without the slightest hint of intimidation and completely undistracted by the unfinished mission that had taken her to the well in the first place.
Who cares about two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen when you can have living water? Washing clothes can wait. Cooking can be done later. Even drinking water can be postponed. It’s not everyday that you have a chance to meet a man who can tell you everything you have ever done – and in such a way that you feel love, forgiveness, and acceptance rather that shame, guilt, and fear.
This woman had been summoned to a new mission, a higher calling. She received the call and bore the call with passionate conviction and urgency. The call is upon us and on our lips, but if it is to be heard by the people of the cities, we must leave our water pots and deliver it in person.