July 06, 2021

Faith—Learning to Receive

Ephesians 2:4-10

It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. . . .

—  Ephesians 2:8

We all like to receive gifts, right? For example, think of children on Christmas morning. They eagerly dig through gifts under the Christmas tree to find one with their name on it. Adults may hide their excitement, but they also like to receive gifts, don’t they?

Reflecting some more on yesterday’s story, I have to say I really struggled with how I should respond to our Nigerian neighbor who had come with the gift of a live chicken.

What should I do? I knew my neighbor needed that ­chicken far more than we did. He struggled to make ends meet.

So, as kindly as I could, I thanked him for his generosity. Then I said something like “But, friend, you need that chicken for your family. I can’t accept a chicken from you.”

So, without the chicken, I went back into the house. I told our steward what had happened. He furrowed his brow, looked me in the eye, and said, “You did the wrong thing! You refused his gift.”

That stung. But he was right; I had done the wrong thing. Humbled, I went out to my neighbor, apologized to him, and accepted the chicken.

I needed that humbling lesson. It takes grace to receive, a willingness not to be in control. Isn’t that what salvation is all about? We recognize our need for God’s gift of grace—and we receive it. And in receiving new life, how blessed we are!

We need the gift of your grace, O Lord. Give us the grace to receive your amazing gifts humbly and gratefully. Amen.

About the author — Harvey Kiekover

Harvey Kiekover grew up on a Michigan farm and studied to go into pastoral ministry. He served as a teacher in Nigeria and as a pastor and chaplain in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He and his wife became the parents of three sons, and he enjoys spending time with his six grandchildren.

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