March 08, 2013

Are You A Grateful Receiver? -- Vivia Oliver

How many times has someone complimented you on how nice your dress looked or a similar, you look nice today? You blushed and remarked that you got that dress at the Sally Ann. Why do we always apologize for a compliment? Is it that hard to just smile and say thank you?

When we stop and analyze our reactions to praise or a gift, we are often less than receptive and often not really thankful. This is a put down to the person who gave the gift or compliment. We are insulting their generosity when we don’t accept graciously and thankfully.

Do we also insult God when we don’t easily accept his free gift of salvation and forgiveness of sins? Do we mock Christ’s death on the cross when we think we have to “work out our salvation”? We don’t seem to appreciate the tremendous gift of eternal life like we should. What a great and marvelous life God has offered us free of charge. We certainly don’t deserve this gift by our past record, we deserve the death sentence that is assigned us on the outside of his kingdom.

 “In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” Ephesians 1:5, 6 NIV

This reflects how very poor we are at being gracious receivers. And we need to gratefully receive Christ’s salvation. We need to accept the free salvation of Christ or we won’t receive it. We are very proud to give to others and repeat God’s promise that it is more blessed to give than to receive, but in order for us to give, someone has to receive. For instance if we won the lottery wouldn’t we be thankful, and graciously accept the cheque? Wouldn’t we be very thankful and very gracious in our acceptance speech?

Acts 20:35 –“we must help the weak-the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’.” Acts 20:35 NIV

When we receive a great gift, don’t we feel obligated to take it gratefully and thankfully? Also if our employer gives us a healthy bonus or raise, don’t we feel the obligation to keep on doing a good job or maybe do a better job in the future? We should feel obligated and eternally grateful to God for the greatest gift of all times. A gracious, grateful attitude should lead us to follow God in the path that He has chosen for us. We need to walk worthy of our calling.

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”  Acts 20:24 NIV

God has a plan and purpose for our lives; he made us for a reason, so we should gratefully go in the direction he has laid out for us. If we stop to think about what a fabulous gift salvation is, we should be willing to follow God to the ends of the earth and back again.

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