I attended a seminar many years ago with international motivational speaker Jim Rohn and was surprised to hear him talk of some very ordinary and everyday things. He was known then as the ‘millionaire maker’ and he credited his own success to practicing some simple, practical things.
One thing he talked about was accepting gifts graciously.
There is a saying “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”. An animal’s age is shown by the gums. So inspecting the mouth of a horse given to you is checking out the quality of the gift. That is offensive to the giver.
You are simply to say “Thank you”, politely, and to appreciate the gift, despite what suspicions you have about it.
Jesus gives us good reason to Receive Gifts Graciously, because there is more blessing in giving than receiving. The Apostle Paul quoted this otherwise unknown word from the Lord.
“Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, when He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35
The significance of this is that the focus is on the giver, not the receiver.
From the receiver’s point of view we think of gifts in terms of whether we want them or appreciate them. If someone gives us something we don’t need or want we instinctively think of the transaction from our point of view.
Jesus, however, puts the focus on the giver. The giver is the one who receives the most blessing.
So, when you sneer at a gift or say you don’t want it, you are stealing from the giver the greater blessing in the transaction. They are going to get more out of giving than you will from receiving, so if you refuse or despise the gift you do the giver great harm.
James Rohn taught the would-be millionaires that they need to receive all gifts with thanks and appreciation, even if it isn’t what they want.
There is a blessing in giving. Don’t destroy the blessing by being self-focused. Instead, let the giver receive their joy and reward.
On the other hand, if you want to insult someone then despise their gift. It is a horrible insult to take a gift and drop it into the bin in front of the giver. Again that shows that the greater pain is in the giver than the receiver, confirming what Jesus said.
Over the years I have been blessed by people and offered them money or some other gift in appreciation. Many times people have refused point blank to receive what I offered. At times my wife and I have had to leave a gift of money where it will be discovered after we have left, because the people would not receive it directly.
Don’t resist gifts from people. If you expect them to receive your gift of hospitality or help, then you must be ready to receive their gift of appreciation. It can’t be one-sided.
So, what do you do when you go to church with something from your garden, or some other gift, and you give it to a person, but as you are leaving a different person comes and offers it as a gift to you? Maybe your gift has gone through multiple hands before finally being offered to you.
A natural response would be to decline, saying “Oh, but we brought that ourselves, this morning.” But that is being self-focused. The giver, for whatever reason, is passing something to you and they will get the greater blessing. So, receive it with thanks.
Receiving is less about you than about the giver. Don’t destroy or steal their blessing.
A rural preacher once told me, “The cardinal rule of being a country minister is to lock your car during service. Otherwise you’ll find the back seat covered in produce.”
Not everyone gives sweetly. Some people pass things off to get rid of them, rather than to be caring and generous. You probably still have to receive the gift if you can.
And receiving isn’t just about money or goods. People can give their time and energy, such as offering to help with a task, or do a domestic chore for you.
I have had people do yard work for me, help with home repairs, cook food, clean house, mind our children, give me transport, mend things and so on. The giver receives joy and a blessing from giving.
At another level, a gift giver becomes a participant in your life and endeavours. The Apostle Paul told the Macedonian church in Philippi that by their giving to his ministry they earned a share in the fruit of Paul’s labours.
“I am not seeking a gift from you, but I am looking for fruit that will be credited to your account.” Philippians 4:17
When people sustain your life, even in the smallest way, with gifts or acts of service, they enable you to get on with your life and they earn a portion of the fruit of your life too.
If you are stubbornly independent and you repel gifts and offers for support you deny people the privilege of sharing in the output of your life.
It’s a lovely thing when a prominent person can say, “I have been richly blessed and enjoyed great fruitfulness. And I owe a lot of that to so many wonderful people who have supported me in so many unseen ways over so many years. I appreciate you all.”
So friends, be an appreciative receiver of gifts. Let the child who brings you a flower, and the person who passes you money, and the one who drives you to your appointment, and the one who happily picks after you, have the joy of giving into your life. Bless them with your thanks and appreciation as you Receive Graciously.