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The Call to Receive




The Call to Receive

Matthew 10:1-8


In the church, we find ourselves, talking a lot, at times, about giving. We speak of giving our time, our talent, our treasure. We understand the importance of giving, and the importance of everyone taking part… And having a personal stake, a vested interest, in the life of the church.


Some say it’s a necessary evil, to occasionally have to talk about money... to talk about finances. And to talk about how we all need to chip in and do our part to make sure that God’s house is cared for and that we’re able to share the Good News of Christ in as many ways as possible with our local community, and our world.


God’s Word even speaks of this necessity of giving. “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.” And “God loves a cheerful giver.” The Word of God calls us to give… To give of ourselves… To give of our lives… To give thanks. To give praise.


Giving is a major theme throughout God’s word. And giving is crucial… It is an essential part of living a life of faith.


But…


There’s a very important catch, if you will… a caveat… a truth… That we sometimes overlook or outright ignore when it comes to giving.


And that truth is... that you and I cannot give, we cannot offer… what we do not have.


If someone comes up and they ask you for $100,000… And all you’ve got $10… There’s not much you can do right? That’s extremely simplistic, but it stresses the point. You and I cannot give what we do not possess.


If you don’t have the love of Christ in your heart, you couldn’t possibly offer His love to others. If you don’t have a talent for singing, or for painting, or for writing, you can’t offer those things to others. If you don’t know, grace, if you haven’t experienced grace, if you have not possessed grace… You can’t offer it to another person. If you don’t know, peace, if you haven’t received peace from Christ, His peace that passes all understanding… It’s impossible for you to share it with others.


Again, you and I cannot give what we do not have. This is where a good theology of receiving comes in to play. We talk a lot about giving in the life of the church, but we don’t talk a whole lot about receiving in the life of the church.


But when you and I begin to understand and appreciate that, everything that we hold most dear, is a gift… That every talent, every ability, every blessing in this life, is a gift from God… Offered to us by Christ and paid for by his sacrifice on the cross… When we begin to understand that, then we open our hearts to receive all the blessings God in Christ has to offer each of us.


Order is important here! We don’t give in order to receive. We receive in order to give. That’s a properly viewed theology of receiving.


In other words… For you and me to offer to give anything of value and worth to the kingdom of God, we must first receive.


Our gifting’s and graces are secondary to the primary gifting and grace that comes from God that you and I must receive… In order to give. I want you to think about it for just a moment…


In the very beginning, it was God who first gave. It was God who gave breath to his creation. It was God, who gave paradise, to Adam and Eve. It was God, who gave all the necessities in order to live a happy, full, whole, complete, life to Adam and Eve.


Of course, later on it was God, who gave to Moses… It was God who gave Moses the ability to speak without stuttering. God gave Moses the law, the Commandments, the requirements of living life in community, as God’s people.


When Jesus called his disciples... He GAVE each of them the authority to carry out ministry.


And still later, it was God, who gave Christ as a propitiation for our sins - the atoning sacrifice that purchased our pardon. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one, and only Son, that whosoever believes in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”


God is the first and primary giver. Until you and I learn how to receive what God has to give us... we will never have anything to truly give in return.


I don’t know about you, but I hear an awful lot these days about “paying it forward.” The whole idea of “paying it forward“ centers around returning a favor - passing on a blessing. If someone gives you some thing that’s of value, like their time, their talents, their goodness, their love… If someone gives you something that helps you in anyway… That blesses you… Then you should “pay it forward“… You should find someone who needs love, grace, forgiveness… A blessing… And at that point... you give.


Examples: someone was nice to you, so you “Pay it forward” by being nice to someone else. Someone blessed you, so you pay for the order of the person behind you in the drive thru at McDonald’s. A church helped you pay your utility bill, and when you’re back on your feet, you help someone else who is struggling. You “pay it forward.”


And for those of us who’ve received the life-changing mercy and grace of God in Christ... shouldn’t we be “paying it forward?”


Well, Jerry, I can’t do it... I just can’t share my faith. Listen: no one’s saying you have to be a missionary to Africa, or stand in the pulpit and deliver a sermon to “pay faith forward?”


You share grace by being gracious. You share faith by being faithful. You share love by being loving. You share kindness by being kind.


You share Christ by being Christlike.


It’s very likely that I can’t offer what you can, because I don’t have what you’ve been given! But we’ve all been given something... and Christ has given each of us, as 21st Century disciples, a task, a purpose, a mission, a calling...


“Jesus called his twelve disciples, and GAVE them authority...”

Let’s be about the work of the Kingdom. “Freely you have received; freely give.” Amen.

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