Giving and Receiving

earlier this summer,  we got an anonymous gift to help us cover the cost of buying new tires for one of our cars.

i think i’ve got a pretty good idea who it was,  but i’m going to respect their desire to go without recognition.   however…if you’re reading this,  thank you.   not just for the money,  but for the friendship and affirmation,  also.   you’re awesome!

for some people,  receiving is a lot tougher than giving.   for others,  the opposite is true.   for us,  both have been part of the journey.

since i was 24,  i have always received a paycheck because faithful,  loving people put money in a plate on sunday mornings.   though the methods of giving have changed through the years,  the heart never has:   people have gone without so that my family could always have enough.

when i was young,  this was something i had to wrestle with.   i was raised by blue-collar parents who lived paycheck to paycheck…payed their own way…never asked for help…took pride in always providing…and were never too happy with the concept or practice of welfare.

getting my pay out of the offering plate was something that i had to come to grips with…theologically,  emotionally,  and sometimes even financially.   as i grew up,  so did my attitude and acceptance.   but it has always been humbling.

in 1990,  we stepped away from a regular “church” paycheck and began raising our missionary support,  in order to do some kingdom work that sat outside the traditional method of financing.   we literally had to ask people if they would give us  (or the projects we were working on) money.

even though it really wasn’t much different from my years on a church budget,  it sure felt different.

honestly,  there were times i just couldn’t ask.   times i would pass on the opportunity to solicit support.   many times i felt like my motives for friendship with people would be called into question.   i carried a level of personal paranoia about being accused of having a hidden agenda.

but we persevered.   god certainly made sure that our needs were cared for.   we were constantly humbled by the generosity of people…especially people that were not much better off financially than we were!

through it all,  god has graciously taught us to be receivers…and its not always been easy.   god doesn’t mysteriously rain fifties from heaven like manna.   god used the soft hearts of real people to care for us and invest in kingdom priorities.   from those people we learned to trust god,  depend on the body,  and receive gifts with joy and gratitude.

and because of that,  our desire to give has multiplied through the years.   genuine gratitude has a way of doing that!

a personal note…to all of you that live sacrificially so you can put money in the north point plate:  thank you!  to know that you go without,  so that the needs that wanda and i have can be met month after month,  is inspiring…motivating …humbling…and empowering.

we are grateful for your friendship.

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