The Willingness to Receive

Written By: Elise Lowe
Social Work
Missionary Experience in Africa and South Asia

Philippians 4:19-20 (ESV)
And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  To our God and Father be glory forever and ever.  Amen.

I had recently returned home from a trip and was a bit delirious with a fever.  A neighborhood friend knew I was ill and sent a message, “Do you need anything? Chicken noodle soup?”  I stood staring at my empty pantry and it pained me to write back, “That would be wonderful.  If it’s not too much trouble, may I have a Gatorade as well?” Why is it so difficult for some of us to ask for help? Could it be that our American culture, our obsession with being a “self-made man,” our daily grind towards “The American Dream,” have made us lousy at receiving from others?  We are uncomfortably vulnerable anytime we have to admit that we may not be as self-sufficient as we seem.  It is a humbling task to ask of others and to accept from them, especially when we cannot return the favor.

When the apostle Paul wrote, “My God will supply all your needs” to the church at Philippi, he did so from the desperate conditions of his jail cell.  If we are going to live out our calling in the Lord we must live by faith.  This means that we must be willing to humble ourselves and trust God to meet our needs, and oftentimes He does so through others.  We serve a Savior that often found Himself reclining at others’ tables.  He was anointed with the priceless perfume of another.  Finally, He was buried in a borrowed tomb.  The Son of God, to whom belong the riches of Heaven, said of His own life on earth, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20, ESV).

Might it be that our own desire for comfort, the pride we have in meeting our own needs and more often, our wants, could actually keep us from living on mission for the Kingdom?  When I think of my role models in the faith, several have been missionaries for decades.  They rely on the support of others to conduct their daily lives and ministry.  They live with a constant faith that God will meet their needs as they do His work, and He does.  If we are to live in vulnerable surrender and humility as Scripture requires us to do, we cannot chase self-sufficiency and worldly success.  May we open up our hands to receive, from our Lord and from others, so that we can be liberated to go wherever God may call us, and to whomever He may send us.

Dear God, I want to live my life by faith and to rely on Your promises to meet my needs. Help me to humble myself to receive, so that You can fulfill Your purposes for my life.