Posted by: pendrops | May 1, 2007

giving candy bars

chocolate_bar.jpg

The art of giving – the art of receiving – both require grace, humility and an open hand.
Anonymous

*To protect anonymity, I have changed names and circumstances.

Recently, a friend of mine, we’ll call her Mary*, lavished an extravagant gift on me. When I say extravagant, I mean extraordinarily extravagant, over-the-top extravagant, too-good-to-be-true extravagant. Imagine someone giving you a car or paying for all your groceries for three years or five year’s worth of massages at your favorite day spa. Even now, almost a month removed from receiving this gift, my tears still swell at this mind-blowing act of generosity.

The day after Mary honored me with my gift, still overwhelmed with gratitude and unbelief, I found myself walking on air – even at the store where I happened on a rare dark chocolate bar I knew she liked. Without a thought, I picked up the $3 bar and drove home, excited about seeing Mary later that morning to offer my own gift. To accompany the chocolate, I even wrote a well-thought card on my very best, most expensive stationary.

But on my way to see Mary, I looked down at the chocolate bar and card bouncing around in the passenger seat.

“My God,” I said out loud, “This is all I’ve got…a $3 candy bar.” I started crying again.

It was so disproportionate. Mary had given me, literally, a dream come true for no other reason than selfless love and deep friendship. My offering was a candy bar and just one. I wanted to run back to the store and buy her ten more, twenty more, a hundred more…but it could never be enough.

And then, in that moment, God whispered to me about more than giving; He whispered about receiving.

“I lavish you with gifts, too,” He said. “And your offerings to me are precious, even in their disproportionate-ness. But when you receive all I give, when you live with open hands, that is the greatest gift you give to Me. That’s what makes Me smile! Just receive.”

I’ve been learning a lot about giving lately, especially cheerful and open-handed giving. God has been opening floodgates of life-changing teaching and sweet understanding about the beauty of generosity. But there’s another element to the equation that’s just as lovely. And, thanks to dear Mary, I am learning the grace of receiving a gift I can never repay.

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Responses

  1. what a great story!

    what candy bar was it??? sounds like something i need to try, as dark choc is my fav, too!

  2. This is so true. We should never be so stubborn as to not accept a gift from someone and rob them of their joy. When someone is trying to give us a large gift, how deflating must it be to that person when all we try to do is give it back?

    Learning to give is one part of the equation. Learning to receive is the other part we ignore all too often.


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