Don’t Block My Blessing!
Dikembe Motumbo was a 7 foot 2 basketball center whose specialty was blocking shots. Often his opponents would have a perfectly clear shot until out of the blue Motumbo’s long arm would come into the picture and change everything. Motumbo had a ritual he did after he blocked a shot. It was almost as if it disturbed and annoyed him as he wagged his long finger at the would be scorer. “Please no,” he would say as his face changed to a troubled look. It was like he hated to block their shot but it was in his job description, much like things we don’t like to do on our jobs but have to do them anyway. What we never saw was the face of the would be scorer. If we did it would surely be a hurt face as his shot that he may have already counted for the score book was being bounced harmlessly to the floor. I never saw Motumbo block a shot of a player from his own team. The hurt and disbelief on his teammates face would be there for all to see if that strange and confusing event ever happened. That same look that I imagine it would be like, was the same stunned and hurt look on my grandpa’s face years ago.
My grandpa was born in 1895 so by the time I got to know him he seemed very old to me. Of course my parents seemed very old at the time and anyone over twenty seemed very old. We would go down to Alabama every year. My grandpa and grandma spent their whole life in Alabama and my dad loved to take us there. We were sure to gain a pound or two as grandma was an excellent cook. She had meals on the table precisely on time and we had our fill of all kinds of food! Grandma would have been hurt if we didn’t eat. Of course we never tested that outcome. We always brought our appetites when we entered Alabama and didn’t stop eating until we left! At the end of the day everyone was happy! Grandma was happy that we enjoyed her wonderful meals and we were happy that she blessed us with them!
Grandpa was a quiet man but we loved him just the same. We realized that he loved us very much too. One rare time they came up to Michigan. It was the only time that I remember that they came our way. Dad had been playing catch with me quite often with the baseball. Grandpa took his turn and we played catch together. I had a bunk bed at the time. Very rarely did the two beds get used at the same time. I had wanted a bunk bed because my friends down the road had them. Of course they had three boys sharing the same room, but I didn’t think about that. I thought they were cool and different. When grandpa stayed at our house he slept on the top bunk. What a scary adventure he talked about over and over the next day at breakfast. He was making it sound so exciting and breath taking all for my benefit. The way he described it you would have thought that he had walked on a high wire over a lake or something! He was giving me a memory that I would cherish forever!
Each year at the end of our stay in Alabama we would hug grandma and grandpa goodbye. Invariably grandpa would reach for his pocket and pull a dollar out for both of us. A couple of times we took his money with excitement! One time on the way home mom and dad wondered if he gave us something. When we said that he gave us both a dollar they both didn’t think we should have taken it. You see grandpa was a poor man. He was living on his social security and he didn’t have a lot of money to throw around. The thinking was that he could use the money himself. In the years that followed I remember numerous times grandpa trying to give us each a dollar and we didn’t accept it. It was like a sad game as he would try to stuff the money in our pockets only to have us put it right back in his. I could see that same hurt look in his eyes that came from rejection.
I was talking to a friend the other day and the same type of thing happened in her family. A close relative took care of a friends cat. This close relative was a giver to the nth degree. She loved to give what she could and loved how people loved her gifts. This time the shoe was on the other foot. This friend of hers was giving her a gift for the care that she provided to her precious cat. It was a card and inside was a gift certificate for a restaurant nearby. It’s not remembered if she finally accepted it and complained later of if she didn’t accept it at all. The words lingering in my friends memory were “I don’t need this”.
Sometimes we take something out of the Bible and stand it alone completely out of context. For example it states that it is better to give than to receive. You can make the argument that if someone is always receiving and doesn’t give that it is wrong. I would have to agree with you. However, does this mean that it is a sin to receive something? Does it mean that we should avoid receiving and only concentrate on giving? How about the passage “Do to others as you would have them do to you?” If you made the special effort to give someone that you loved very much a gift wouldn’t it be hurtful if they didn’t accept it? How can hurting someone be a good thing?
Just as if we give in love we can receive in love too! When we do things for some other reason the connection cannot be completed. For example there is something called the prosperity gospel. It states that if we give such and such something good will come back to us. This can only be true if we are doing things for the right reasons. If we are giving to get concerned with “what’s in it for us?” that attitude will never be blessed by God. However if we give something from our heart then it’s all good. If we do something from our heart the other person should accept it from their heart. Likewise if someone does something for us from their heart, we should accept their gift graciously and lovingly. There is no need for the “you shouldn’t have” phrase we hear so much because maybe they should have. Maybe they are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing. Since everything is being done out of love and God is the source for love, we have a love connection and blessings will follow!
Tom Brady is unanimously one of the best Quarterbacks in the NFL. As good as Brady is and as well as he can throw, the results of the play are not positively fulfilled unless someone is there to receive his passes. He can throw the best most accurate passes ever and if his receiver doesn’t catch them it all goes for nothing. However, when both are in unison doing what they are supposed to do they both are glorified. It is very important in our Christian walk to not only be good givers but good receivers too!
Sometimes we might have the attitude that I will accept a gift from God, but not from this person. Does it ever occur to us that maybe it is one in the same. God is love and he is continuously trying to bless his people. Since we are his hands and feet on this earth, he often uses people to bless other people. If someone out of their heart feels the desire to give us a nice gift that process can only come from love. That person loves us and wants us to have something they can give to show their love! Rejecting their gift is in fact rejecting their love. Rejecting their love may be rejecting God’s gift and blessing.
My question to you today is “Are you a selfish giver? In the words of Olivia Newton John, “Have you ever let someone else be strong?” Have you ever considered the fact that receiving can also be giving? I know that you are thinking that I just jumped off of the deep end but let me explain. Suppose someone gives me a gift and I give them back love. I accept their gift thankfully and tell them how much their gift means to me. I make them feel good that they thought of me and in turn it makes them happy! I am blessed by the material gift they gave me and I have given them a blessing too! It is the blessing of love that is from God and makes us all feel good inside!
It is remindful that God gave us the greatest gift of all in his son Jesus. By receiving him into our lives as a free gift we can all get to Heaven. Once again we have a giver and a receiver. I know that it hurts God when people reject the gift that he has given freely. His desire is for all to receive his gift and live for eternity with him. Just as we accept God’s gift as a blessing we also need to accept each others show of Godliness that he has instilled in us causing us to lovingly give.
I can still see grandpa’s sad eyes as his gift was rejected . If I could change one thing in my childhood this would be it. I would accept his loving gift which would have put a smile on his face. “I’d say “thank you grandpa, I love you!” I may not go as far as making it seem like I was as thankful as I would have been had I survived walking a high wire over a lake, but it would have been real! He would have felt good and blessed and I would have felt the same!
A dollar would buy a lot more back then than it does today. With that dollar I may have bought a nice baseball. If a friend asked where I got it I could have told him that it was a gift from my grandpa! They would probably think, and rightly so, that I had a great grandpa who loved me very much! With this scenerio the blessings would have flowed without being blocked and everyone would have been happy including God!