Give and ye shall receive

Published 8:14 am Thursday, June 6, 2019

In his book “Free of Charge: Giving and Forgiving,” Miroslav Volf talks about giving and forgiving. Volf says that God’s essential nature is about giving, That’s why he created, why he created the universe, created earth, because God is giving. God’s gift to creation is creation, and God has given it to us.

God created humans to receive that gift of creation, the gift of life. And since God is a giving God, God is also a forgiving God, because we have harmed that gift of creation, sullied it with our own pride, our own desires, our turning away from God’s gift, sin that deserves punishment and condemnation. Yet God’s nature is still to find a way to forgive, a way to reconcile us with Him.

Since we have been created in God’s image, we too need to have that same essential nature, as we take on Christ, as we accept God’s gift to us, the Holy Spirit, we take on that essential nature of giving and forgiving. In order to be able to receive God’s gifts, we too need to be able to give and forgive. The idea is that it’s the same channel, that same channel that we use to give and forgive, is the one by which we can accept and receive God’s gifts and forgiveness.

One of my favorite illustrations is that of the Sea of Galilee as opposed to the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee is fed by the waters from the springs and snows of Mount Hermon. Galilee is alive with fish, the water is pure and fresh, because the water flows out of the Sea and becomes the Jordan River flowing south between Israel and Jordan, ultimately into the Dead Sea. Since the water flows out of the Sea of Galilee it continues to be replenished by new water from those springs and snows. But the Dead Sea doesn’t have an outlet, the water just goes in there and ultimately evaporates, the sea gets saltier and saltier, fish can’t live, the water dies.

We need to be like the Sea of Galilee, in order to be able to receive and keep receiving we need to give, in order to be able to receive forgiveness, we need to forgive. Let us pray: O God, you are indeed a giving and forgiving God. We thank you for that. Help us to be more giving and forgiving, so that we can receive your Spirit, so that we can truly receive all the gifts that you want to give to us. In Jesus name, amen.

REV. DALE BROWN is the pastor of Cumberland and Guinea Presbyterian churches. His email address is