Reaching Out | Part IV
As Christians, we know that our lives are dedicated to serving others and giving generously. But as followers of Christ, are we free to receive as well?
In the book of Luke, Chapter 10, verse 7, Jesus gives us instructions for sharing his gospel. He says, ‘And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages.’
In other words, you’re bringing them the greatest gift of all… let them thank you by giving you provisions!
As we continue reading, he says, ‘do not go from house to house.’
Don’t just read them your script and leave. Don’t just drop off a tract and scurry away.
Stay in their house. Talk to them. Get to know them.
Jesus, our example, dined often with tax collectors and prostitutes. He didn’t bring them burritos from Taco Bell. He ate the food they had prepared for him. He allowed them to serve and bless him. Even though he brought them the greatest gift of all, he received what they had to give.
If we, as Christ’s followers, are not willing to receive from the people we’re serving, we set ourselves above them. It’s as if we’re ‘too good’ to receive what they have to offer.
This summer, I had the privilege of visiting a few Roma villages in Slovakia. Traditionally referred to as Gypsies, Roma are the poorest of the poor. Scorned and shunned due to their darker skin and large families, Roma communities are desperate for the love of Christ.
Missionaries from my home church have reached out to these communities to share God’s hope for their lives. My family and I were invited to join our missionary hosts as they visited one particular Roma family. Our friend took us to a crumbling apartment block made of concrete, and the stench met us at the entrance.
We saw the moldy walls and peeling paint of this complex, which housed over 200 Roma. I must admit I thought to myself, ‘What are we getting into?’
There was no door, so we walked through the threshold. One light hung in the center of the room from a single cord. There were no beds, but mats on the floor by the fireplace.
An excited and welcoming cry greeted us, and an old Roma woman came hurrying toward me. Her hands were dry and dirty from years of hard labor. She grasped my face and brought her chapped and bleeding lips to mine, bestowing three enthusiastic and welcoming kisses.
Later, I thought to myself, ‘If I had known what was waiting for me today… would I have come?’
But I am so grateful that I didn’t know. This woman shared her great joy welcoming my family into her home, and I would have missed a most precious gift indeed.
Do we receive what we’re offered? Or do we reply with, ‘Oh, no thank you. I’ve got plenty of my own… I’ve brought my own special soda with me.’ When we adopt an attitude that says, ‘I’m here to help you, so you can’t possibly help me!’, then we fail to admit our own need, including our need for Christ. We can’t invite someone else to find their sufficiency in Christ, while insisting that we are already sufficient in ourselves.
Give, yes! Give! But don’t just give.
Take joy in receiving!