Giving and Receiving

It is more blessed to give than to receive ~ The Bible

Most of us, I imagine, are more comfortable being on the giving end of things than on the receiving.

We donate to our churches, political parties, schools, charitable causes. We give freely of our time and talents to our families and communities.

But what happens when we’re thrust into the role of receiving help?

A few days ago, I went to a local restaurant to pick up dinner for my mom and me.

‘Here, take all these coins,’ she said. ‘They’re making my purse too heavy to carry.’

Well, okay.

So I counted out a slew of nickels, dimes, and quarters with an eye toward exchanging them for two meals.

Nobody was behind me in line when I started to pay. Four quarters = one dollar; ten dimes, ditto.

When I got about halfway done counting, I looked up and noticed three men standing behind me.

Probably wondering if I’d had to raid my kid’s piggy bank to buy food!

I apologized, but they assured me they weren’t in a hurry.

Good thing, for it was about to get worse.

I asked the cashier how much I still owed and saw to my dismay that I was one penny short.

For a second, I stood there, wondering how I could have miscalculated.

Why I hadn’t brought my purse inside with me.

And if I dared disrupt these patrons further by saying I had to return to my car for a cent.

The man immediately behind me reached into his pants pocket and pulled out some change. He fished around and found a penny.

‘There you go,’ he announced.

From my reaction, you’d have thought he’d bought me another Sheltie!

As I waited for my order to-go, I again debated racing to the car so I could pay this kind stranger back.

Then I decided not to.

Let him have the satisfaction of knowing he helped me out.

Let him be blessed as I was.

19 thoughts on “Giving and Receiving

  1. Wonderful post, Debbie. I LOVED it! And I couldn’t agree with you more, it is (for me, anyway) harder to give than receive. And I think it’s because of the way I was raised as a child – “It’s better to give than receive.” In fact, I can still hear my parents saying that to me.

    “Then I decided not to.

    Let him have the satisfaction of knowing he helped me out.

    Let him be blessed as I was.”

    A-men! And that is something I have had to accept and embrace because it allows others the grace of giving.

    Thanks so much for sharing this, my friend. It’s a topic I always need reminding.

    Have a fantastic Sunday!

    • You know, it’s a humbling thing, Ron, to be on the receiving end. We tend to pride ourselves of self-sufficiency when in reality, so many things are outside of our control.
      As someone who regularly donates to charity, I like being able to give and help others. I find it more challenging to accept help! Sure, I could have immediately paid this man back, but I didn’t want to insult him. It was, after all, just a penny! But if being beholden to a stranger over one cent makes me so uncomfortable, I can only imagine how perturbed I’d be if I had to be on the receiving end 24/7 from strangers (like some of our community’s homeless).
      Hope you’re enjoying Fall now!! xo

  2. Think about this: a gift never is fully a gift until someone receives it. If you’d refused the man’s penny, you would have deprived him of the satisfaction of a generous and helpful gesture. And I ponder this from time to time: we start out life completely as receivers. We receive food, shelter, care from our parents and those around us. We know from the beginning how to receive — we have to learn to give. But we can only learn that lesson if there’s someone willing to receive from us!

    • Very true, Linda. Sadly, some who have been able to make the transition from receiver to giver tend to look down on those who haven’t, for one reason or another. Maybe they’re homeless, fell into drugs, were incarcerated, or just going through a rough patch. I can’t imagine how hard it must be, always at the mercy of kind strangers!
      On the other hand, some receivers abuse the system, taking when they should be giving or, once they’re past the “crisis,” opting not to give back.
      All this “sound and fury” over a penny might seem incredulous, but I was surprised at the feelings that swept over me because of it!

  3. Ha – you’re so right! It’s much harder to be on the receiving end, and it’s probably a good thing for us to be reminded of that occasionally. Receiving gracefully is a hard thing to do especially when, like you here, we could repay immediately. But I’m sure the man got much more pleasure out of the giving than he would from having the penny.

    • That’s a nice way of looking at it, FF. By the way, are you back? I’ve missed you! Yes, I suppose we all need to be reminded now and again what it means to give joyfully … and to receive gratefully.

    • Aw, thanks for making me feel better, Kb! Yes, I definitely plan on paying this one forward (perhaps my stranger was doing the same thing??) It was bad enough that I was busy counting out coins and holding up other customers — then I had to run short. Ugh!!

  4. Debbie – Most Sundays I scrounge change from our change jar to buy tea @ our Barnes & Noble Campus Bookstore cafe after church (using change seems like it doesn’t cost much? Since I make 3 pots of tea a day @ home?) Counting coins out with a long line, your story resonated.

    Now your penny shall give my pennies new meaning. It’s a gift to receive – a gift to us, and a gift to the giver. Blessings! 🌷🍵🌷

    • Thank you, Virginia. Next time, I’ll be sure to put a little extra in my pocket so I won’t have to be embarrassed! Though, honestly, it probably made this guy’s day to be able to help, even in a small measure!

  5. I have a really hard time receiving but I’m the first to give. I heard it was prideful not to receive but I can’t figure out why. I’m glad you received a small lesson in receiving. We got a penny for your thoughts on the matter. Lesson here. Save up your change and use the change machine at your bank LOL!!!

    • Good idea, Tanya. Another would be to count and recount several times to make sure I’ve got enough (or to tuck in a spare dollar just in case!) I wonder if the prideful thing comes in when we’re refusing to accept whatever blessings we’re given?

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