Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ouch

Steve and I were given gifts of unconditional generosity this week. Two of our dearest friends gave us gifts that were needed and much appreciated. Gifts given with unconditional generosity require no repayment or compensation.

Our friends gave in this spirit. They simply wanted to bless us.

Given my wiring, I began to think about how to give something back to them. How could I repay them for their generosity? I was feeling guilty. I was feeling as if I owed them something.

Awkward.

They certainly hadn’t alluded, hinted or suggested this feeling to me. Quite the contrary, I was called to the mat because our friend caught me in this train of thought. He looked me in the eye and said, “Stop it!”

How do you repay generosity? Especially the unconditional kind?

That’s the point—you don’t.

But isn’t that what we do? We try to repay so that we aren’t in debt.

How hard is it to simply say thank you? How hard is it to simply acknowledge that they met a need? How hard is it to simply show how much their kindness was appreciated?

Our friends don't want to be repaid; they just want us to continue to live life with them, continue to walk with them and continue to love them (and we do).

We behave in the same manner with God’s grace—his unconditional generosity. We try to be “good” and repay him. We don’t want to be in God’s debt. We don’t want owe him.

He doesn’t want us to repay him; he wants us to live life with him, to walk with him and to love him.

The second significant lesson this week pinched me too. Our minister paraphrased a quote, “you know how you feel about being a servant when you get treated like one.” That phrase caught my attention and I mulled and gnawed on it.

Then this week I was treated like a servant. Inwardly I didn’t respond very well. I bristled. I balked. I could feel my ire shoot up the back of my neck. I kept doing the task and then, poised in mid-action, I remembered our minister’s quote.

I did not have a servant’s attitude in that moment.

I did not have the mind of Christ.

Confound it. Dagnabit.

Both lessons had to do with pride.

Mine.

Ouch.

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