2.03.2012

FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY Year B


Isaiah 40:21-31  •  Psalm 147:1-11, 20c  •  1 Corinthians 9:16-23  •  Mark 1:29-39


Why do we work so hard to earn things that others are willing to give us as a gift?

For some reason, it is difficult for many of us to accept gifts.

I am not sure what it is about us humans, but there is something about us that gets in our way of just being gracious when another person wants to offer us either a physical gift or offers us help when we need it.

I don't think this is just a male issue. I also don't think it is just an American issue (although both of those qualities may exacerbate the situation).

Being given something that we did not work for and we did not deserve and that we could not have earned on our own is often tough for us to accept.

And when we get promises like the one in Isaiah 40, it makes for a different situation: "those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."

See, this one is tough because it implies I might not only have to accept something I did not earn, I might also be weak and/or helpless AND will find myself accepting a gift.

The writer of Psalm 147 apparently has no problem accepting the gifts of God and understanding that there is nothing he has done to deserve it. In fact, this writer seems to be rolling around in the gifts he has received.

In Paul's letter to the followers of Jesus in Corinth he shows the great lengths he puts himself through to be able to give the gift of the gospel to people that are different from himself. Paul seems to recognize he has been given a grand gift and he is making great effort to then turn around and give that gift to others.

And what about the people who Jesus healed? Was it hard for them to accept the gift of health and restoration they were given? Do you think any of them were ashamed that they could not pay him? What is it like to be in a situation where you are given a gift that there is no way you can repay it....and your only option is to be gracious?

Are you able to gratefully accept what others are willing to give you?
Do you find yourself attempting to 'earn' gifts?
Can you trust that you will be given all that you need?

God,
I am suspicious
when I don't have to
work for things.
I get uneasy
when I
assume
others might
perceive me
as weak
or unable
(you made me complicated!).
I need peace.
I need to trust.
Help me as I learn
to allow you
to help me.
Amen.

© matt norvell 2012 www.settingourstones.org we want to share
this with you and hope you'll share with the world; we simply ask that
you let people know where you found these words. May Grace & Peace be
with you.

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