Gleanings: Learning How To Receive

On July 10th, I wrote about the need for “shutting the door” and praying in secret to God.  I used the experience a friend of mine had with E. Stanley Jones years ago—when Brother Stanley told him, “the person who is available to everyone is soon no good to anyone.”

On July 11th, Henri Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey, happily amplified this notion.  I want to return to that idea today through Nouwen’s insight…

It is important to know when we can give attention and when we need attention.  Often we are inclined to give, give, and give without ever asking anything in return.  We may think that this is a sign of generosity or even heroism.  But it might be little else than a proud attitude that says:  “I don’t need help from others.  I only want to give.”  When we keep giving without receiving we burn out quickly.  Only when we pay careful attention to our own physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs can we be, and remain, joyful givers.

 There is a time to give and a time to receive.  We need equal time for both if we want to live healthy lives.

About jstevenharper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 31 books.
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