To keep receiving, we need to give
In Luke Chapter 7, verses 11-17 Jesus tells his disciples and us about prayer and forgiveness.
There are some familiar things in this passage, aren’t there? There is the Lord’s Prayer. Something we repeat each Sunday, and I hope even more often then that. I hope you say it during your daily or nightly devotions. There are the wonderful assurances – ask and you shall receive, search and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.
I remember those as being a part of my earliest Sunday School teaching, the flannel figures being put up by the teaching, Jesus knocking at the door, Jesus the shepherd searching and how we are to emulate that.
There is a lot about giving in this passage and about forgiving, isn’t there? God’s essential nature is about giving. That is why God created the universe and created earth. 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.
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 receive God’s gifts, we too need to be able to give and forgive. It is that idea that it is 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, so that we will be able to receive. To keep receiving we need to give, and so to be able to receive forgiveness, we need to forgive.
REV. DALE BROWN is the pastor of Cumberland and Guinea Presbyterian churches. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.