Receiving gifts

2 Kings 5:15-19

Apparently, Jesus said, “it’s better to give than receive” (Acts 20:35).

Many of us know that better feeling. It’s the first time we were able to treat our parents or pay for someone else’s dinner. I believe most people want to do good. They don’t always know how they can. So, the church should be a place they learn how they can bless others through sacrificial giving.

Still, it’s better to give than to receive. But that doesn’t mean to receive is bad. If someone has put thought into something they want to give you, do you want to take that blessing from them? If God nudged them to give of themselves, should you tell them you don’t need anything?

Giving is better because it muffles our selfishness. It reshapes our understanding about possessions and money and our life’s purpose. But receiving is okay, too, because it also teaches us. We learn that God provides. God’s people are listening to how the Holy Spirit is leading them. Generosity is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. So, let others be generous to you. There’s also something humbling to learn about receiving a gift.

When the man of God, Elisha, healed the commander of the army of Aram, Naaman, there was some giving and receiving. Naaman’s desperation first turned to hope. Anger replaced his hope when Elisha didn’t even come out of his house to speak to him. Help from his servants overcame his reluctance and Naaman was healed.

His first response was an acknowledgement of God’s superiority. Then he wanted Elisha to have a gift. He had brought silver, gold and some nice clothes. But Elisha wanted none of it. Even after more urging from Naaman, there was no gift.

Now, the prophet had his reasons for not receiving. But Naaman didn’t mind asking for a gift. He asked if he could bring dirt from this holy place back to his home. Then he asked if he could be pre-forgiven. The text doesn’t tell us if Naaman got the dirt. As for the forgiveness, we do know Elisha told him to go in peace (2 Kings 5:19).

Naaman wanted the chance to give. It was a response to his miracle. That would’ve made him happy. While he didn’t get to give any of the gifts he prepared, he did leave with the prophet’s blessing. And that was something worth receiving.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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