"A Time to Receive and a Time to Give" -- Henri Nouwen

Posted by tom | Sep 25, 2012

Another in the series of words of encouragement passed along by a faculty friend and ministry mentor. 

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. -- Henri Nouwen. "A Time to Receive and a Time to Give." 

Why do I find these words of relevance? It is so easy for me to switch to the mode of giving it all. But as my family, friends, and responsibilities grow, its become even clearer to me that "running on empty" leaves me at times edgy. At times I've found myself finishing tasks without the grace, granted by God, to truly impart blessing upon whom I've been called to serve. 

Even in my redeemed state, there are limits to what I can "give." Alongside ministry (but no doubt another outflow of loving God), I am the husband of one wife, the father of four children, an active member of a local congregation, a volunteer in the community (in particular with the Elizabethtown Public Library), a seminary student at Evangelical, etc. . . . It was a good decision to drop down from two seminary classes to one. It will be important to take a break in early October before the high volume of later October. Pray for discernment and grace.

Add comment