Last week, we talked about the importance of receiving gifts unapologetically and with gratitude, so that others can experience the joy of being givers. We also described the value of allowing someone to give you a gift without attempting to repay them. And finally, we talked a bit about how to check your motives for giving.
Here’s Part 2.
Take people at their word. A California congregant shared that a friend was struggling with a terminal illness. The friend was feeling especially weak one day and called to ask for a ride to a medical appointment. The congregant explained how pleased he was that his friend called and that it felt like he was giving his friend a gift. The friend accepted this, and the congregant felt good knowing that he was taken at his word.
Accept compliments. “In the past,” another congregant explained, “I would frequently rebuff a compliment with a self-deprecating remark. Someone would compliment me on a meeting I had facilitated and I would respond with, ‘Gee, I didn’t really do a very good job. I forgot to mention an important point, and I allowed the group too much time to discuss another point.’ I never realized it, but my response would deflate the person giving me the compliment. I am better at accepting compliments now and am more likely to respond by saying, ‘Thanks. I am pleased that the meeting was helpful.’” The congregant has learned how to accept compliments.
Be a gracious receiver. In Giving and Stewardship in an Effective Church, church consultant and minister Kennon Callahan says, “Gracious receivers become joyful givers.” When we receive a gift graciously, we can see how it gladdens the giver. Perceiving this joy, we are more likely to give to others. And when we appreciate the gifts we receive, we are more likely to invest and grow those gifts so that we have the ability to share our wealth.
Until the congregants of a faith community are willing to initiate conversations and share stories about receiving and accepting, growing and investing, returning and restoring, and joyfully giving their gifts, call, and spiritual vocation, they will be unable to change their culture of scarcity.