Some years ago, my wife and I gave a monetary gift to someone and they rejected it rather aggressively. It was painful because the gift came from my heart. I realized that one of the greatest gifts you can give to anyone is to receive their gift, especially when it comes from the heart.
Someone else I gave a gift to, responded by asking with a facial expression combining surprise with gratitude, “How did you know that I needed it?” That was enough reward for me and I left him more blessed than he may have realized. Knowing that a gift is a blessing is a blessing for the giver.
The receiver of a gift has the power to reject or to accept the gift, which is their power to bless the giver. The first person withheld from me the privilege of being a blessing and the second person gave me the privilege to be a blessing to them.
I am learning more and more to receive gifts. My daughter spent the day at my office two days ago and scribbled what I would have described as “jáku jàku” (a word I used growing up to describe meaningless scribbling) on a piece of paper and handed it to me to adorn my office with. My first instinct was to reject it but I realized that for her, it is not “jáku jàku”, but a piece of art. I received her gift but I realized as I write this that I did not do it as heartily as I could have. (I must thank her when she wakes up.)
Ronke and I are also learning to give and receive. She gave me a gift of thanks and affirmation in the last few days, to which I responded, “that has made my year.”
These experiences and others make me realize that God must be blessed when we receive His blessing, not only when we give to Him. A sign that we received His blessing is thanksgiving and praise, which go much farther than prayers, since there is nothing we need that God has not already provided.
I said all that to say thank you to everyone who subscribes to and reads this blog or has ever read it or contributed in any other way. You have given me the privilege of being a blessing to you and that is more of a blessing than you may realize. You have blessed me by reading, by commenting, by allowing me to affect you. Most times, your comments take the blog post much farther. As I write this, there are insights from comments and emails that I am pondering on, which I believe will bear much fruit.
Thank you. You will have a great year.