We often hear the adage, “It’s better to give than to receive.” It’s true that it is great to give! Not only does giving, or serving, help other people in need but it helps to get our eyes off of ourselves and do something kind for someone else. It also helps to make us more like Jesus as we copy His example, and obey His command to serve others.
Jesus was the epitome of a good servant. But what if all of those people with various needs that He came in contact with had refused to let Jesus help them?
What if all of the people whom Jesus came to save, heal, set free, and give hope and joy to said to Him, No thanks…I just have a hard time receiving anything from anyone so I don’t want to accept anything from You.
What if in John 13 the disciples had refused to let Jesus wash their feet?
Think of what those people would have missed out on—God in the flesh! But I also think this refusal to accept help from someone else—to be open to receiving—would have been a huge disappointment to Jesus. After all, He came to serve.
In order to serve you need someone to receive! If there are no “receivers” there can be no servants.
We all have needs. And from time to time we all need help; like when we’re sick, feeling overwhelmed, have too many commitments on our plate, or have little kids to look after. And yet many have a difficult time asking for help or even receiving help when it’s freely offered.
Why are we so bad at receiving help?
I think it’s easy for us to feel like we should have it all together and that we shouldn’t need help from others. Needing help can make you feel weak, dependent, guilty for putting others out. But is this really how God wants us to feel about it?
When Jesus first sent out his twelve disciples to minister He said to them, “This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice.” (Matthew 10:40-42, The Message)
Why would Jesus want you to be a good receiver?
When you don’t receive well it’s easy to isolate yourself and stay stuck.
When you don’t receive well you not only miss out on a blessing, you cause the person who wants to serve to miss out on the blessing of service.
If you can’t receive from another human being, how on earth are you going to allow yourself to receive anything from God?
When you don’t receive well you’re not being like Jesus.
Wait a minute, what? What did Jesus receive?
Jesus was a servant at heart and He is our standard for serving others. And yet He also let others serve Him. He received the hospitality of staying at other people’s homes, letting others host him for dinner, cook for him, help him financially, wash His feet, and care for other needs.
Sure, being a receiver can be taken overboard, always expecting people to do everything for you. Just as serving without any healthy boundaries can burn you out quickly, causing you to neglect your own needs.
But we can find a good balance in both.
-Do you receive well from others? If not, why not?
-Do you receive well from God? If not, why not?
-On the other hand, are you unable to say “no” to every request that comes your way, making you overcommitted and exhausted?
How Do You Learn to Receive?
If you have trouble receiving help from others, first repent. The Greek word for repent is metanoia. It means to change one’s mind, to have a transformative change of heart. Simply make a decision that you are going to start being more receptive. Then ask someone for help. Or say yes when someone offers to help you. It may be uncomfortable at first but it will become easier as you do it more. The same goes for learning to say “no” to too many commitments.
It is in giving that you receive and in receiving that you give.