Have you ever had a hard time accepting a gift?
Most people would probably say “no,” but there have been a few moments in my life when I’ve been given something so special that it made me slightly uncomfortable. Whether it’s something tangible or the gift of a compliment, sometimes it’s hard to be the recipient, especially if you feel undeserving.
Honestly, I find accepting help difficult most of the time. And I’ve talked with countless women who agree that it’s just really hard to accept help from others.
I think it’s because we often correlate “help” with a degree of failure on our part. Thoughts like, “I should be able to do this on my own.” Or, “I hate that I can’t handle this myself!” make us reluctant to accept the help that others are willing to give.
And yet Matthew 10:40-42 says this, ““We are intimately linked in this harvest work. Anyone who accepts what you do, accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me. Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God’s messenger. Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help. 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. You won’t lose out on a thing.”
In a world where admitting you could use help is frowned upon, we see that God’s kingdom works very differently. Isn’t His idea of how things should work refreshing? Here we discover that we are all intimately linked together. We discover that accepting is as important and valued as giving. And we discover that the only way to accomplish all that He’s called us to is by working together, learning the art and the value of both.
There is no failure tied to your acceptance of help. Rather, there is importance and value threaded into it. Jesus modeled this for us while He was here on Earth. We see many instances in Scripture of Jesus giving. He gave of his time, energy and resources. And yet, we also see him receiving. Jesus received the woman in Bethany who broke her expensive jar of perfume and poured it on His head. He received the hospitality that Martha offered him and the rapt attention that Mary gave. He even received Simon’s help as he carried his cross to be crucified.
If our desire is to be a disciple of Christ, then we need a shift in our thinking. We need God to transform our minds and our hearts. We need Him to reveal some of the misconceptions that we have regarding receiving help from others. We need a reminder that we are all in this together and that as we learn the holy rhythm of giving and receiving, we become more like him.
A prayer: Father, make us more like You this holiday season. Show us the benefit of learning to accept and receive not only from others but also from You. May we sense the value in linking arms with those around us to get the job done. It is a large work that you’ve called us to and we each have our own part to play. Your promise to us is that as we learn this skill, we won’t miss out on a thing. Thank you, Father, for modeling this concept for us and continue to work it out in our lives in the days ahead.