The Hospitality of Receiving

Yellow ranunculusRecently, I was reminded of how easy it is to only partially quote scripture. We have become used to biblical bites for strength when we are feeling low or overwhelmed; when we want to offer encouragement or emphasize the positive. And while it is good to offer His Word to lift others up from despair or the blues, it is thoughtful to reciprocate by acknowledging that His blessings flow both ways.

“Each time He said, ‘My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me.” — 2 Corinthians 12:10

His power “works best in your weakness.” And that power works through others — to you.

Don’t break the circle of His power and love. Whether it takes a week, a month, or a year, when the burden of your despair begins to feel lighter, remember those whose words comforted you and let Him flow through you and back to them.

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Whether it comes in the form of a handwritten note, an email, a text, a phone message, prepared food, or a gift of any kind – when they (friends, family, acquaintances) let you know that, “[You] can do everything through Him who gives [you] strength,” respond that, “Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty” (Philippians 4:13-14).

Yellow poppiesWe exist in a broken world. Life may get better, but it will never be perfect. Admit how you are and acknowledge how the uplifting spirit of others has affected you.

“I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am [made] strong” — through Him through YOU (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Remember to that His power and love comes through many religions and beliefs; holy books and literature. His name may vary, and His prophets may differ depending on country and culture, but His message is universal.

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding…All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart [….] accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.” — The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran

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I was glad for the reminder that if I truly want to be a part of community, I must become a giver in every sense of the word and His Word: “Think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course” (Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet).

I must be mindful that I am:

Not only directed to forgive but to ask for forgiveness.

Not only directed to comfort but deserve to be comforted.

Not only to give but to graciously receive.

Not only to evangelize but to follow His Word.

It’s easy to get stuck on one side of scripture; to hear and remember a smidgen of the Word and feel temporarily satiated.

As a Christian, especially, I must not survive spiritually on mere biblical bites alone. I should indulge in eating His Word whole:

How grateful I am, and how I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but for a while you didn’t have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need. But even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty.

— Philippians 4: 10-14

Blessings, dear reader

3 comments

  1. Thank you for this reminder Robin. It is so easy to only partially carry out God’s words of wisdom to us. I love how you say ‘I should indulge in eating His Word whole’. Yes I totally agree. Thank you for sharing these thoughts today.

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