I’d like to talk to you about your rhythmic nature, you.
Now you may be white, very white. That’s okay. You’re still a rhythmic being.
See, we look like God, represent God (it’s Biblical, I promise!).
And when Ezekiel saw God he described “wheels within wheels,” or cycles within cycles. This is further evidenced through creation, which reveals the nature of God. Everything has cycles to it. We inhale and exhale. Our very cells birth and die over and over again. Look around and there are seasons, because the globe on which we spin (a cycle) is circling a bigger globe (a larger cycle). Everyday you close and open your eyes hundreds of times (a little cycle called blinking) and then you close them for a longer time — about 6 or 8 hours — forming a bigger rest cycle. Cycles, within cycles, rhythms within rhythms. They are all over.
So, whatever you look like when you take the dance floor at the end of a wedding, you are rhythmic indeed.
Today, the rhythm I’d like to talk about is giving and receiving. But first, my grandma.
Earlier today she dropped me off at Starbucks, where I currently type. That’s right. She gave me a ride, because my broke twenty-eight-year-old ass doesn’t have a car. That was a type of receiving that is hard for me, honestly. And right as I was getting out of the car, she sounded alarmed and said, “Wait! I almost forgot!” I had already closed the door, and was now suspicious about what was going on. See, when I hang out with my grandparents emergencies usually are something along the lines of not finding the right size eggs.
Through the closed window of the car I saw her flapping around a five dollar bill. Oh God. I already got a lift, and knew there was no way in the Lord’s Holy name she was going let me give her gas or gas money. The least she could do is let me buy my coffee. But I opened the door and smiled and rolled my eyes.
“Mimi, I know better than to fight you on this!” I said as grabbed the Lincoln.
“You are right! Love you!”
For me, grandparents are a good reminder that I’m receiving creature as well as a giving creature. My grandpa also hands me wads of cash randomly. “Here’s some gas money knot-head!” he says. And now that I don’t have a car, he just has to shove it my hand and smile. My other grandma doesn’t let me pay for anything either. If we grab lunch, it’s on her. Can’t get around it. If I’m with them I’m receiving.
What I’d like to shine a flashlight on is my discomfort with this whole ordeal. Of course they tell my how wonderful and perfect I am (and swear on Neptune’s grave that they aren’t biased), but at the end of they day, I don’t really deserve a darn thing. But that is a good posture for receiving, actually.
Okay now. Pause. I’m not talking about entitlement or laziness. I admit there’s some limits to this. If you have a job, for example, you deserve to get paid when you complete the agreed upon tasks. Your car will go when you put gas in— not when you feel like you deserve for it to go. If you have debt, you ought to pay it off. I get it.
Still, Adam, was just a lump of dirt when God breathed into him. You were born into the world and nurtured for years before you contributed crap (okay, you contributed crap). At the beginning is receiving, see? Even Jesus didn’t circumvent this system. He nursed before he ever turned water to wine.
My pal Rob Bell (my pal, because I listen to his podcast sometimes) talks about “divine flow”. I love this idea. There’s certain ways in which we can get into rhythms or “flows” that are congruent with the nature of God. I’d like to mention that giving and receiving is about the most important “flow” you could understand.
*Side note: I think women tend to understand this more intuitively. Perhaps it’s because they are hardwired for nurture or maybe because they have a literal cycle/flow that is very hard to ignore. Maybe it’s because they were born and also have the ability to give birth. I speak in generalities, of course, but thought it was worth mentioning.
Alright now. Take a moment and think about your life. Does it include some giving and some receiving? Here are some areas to examine:
Do I see giving and receiving in….
If you study Jesus, he was actually pretty ballin’ at this. Of course he gave generously. Most notably he gave of his presence. But he was always prayin’, healin’, preachin’, storm-calmin’.
But, also he…
-allowed a prostitute to pour her life-savings on his feet and blessed her for it
-allowed angels to minister to him after he fasted and punched the devil in the face
-let John baptize him
-told a servant to fetch him a donkey
-often ran off to the woods to connect with pop
-was resurrected after he was crucified
-he seemed to eat and drink and good bit when he wasn’t fasting — just saying.
He walked on water, too… but I don’t know if that was giving or receiving…. I think it was actually just him having a gay ol’ time. “Look Peter! No hands! LOL! Also no BOAT LOLOLOLOLOLOL”
Now I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Good Ol’ Text says that giving is better than receiving. I’m writing from my bais, which tends to be more comfortable with giving and producing. And I’m just speculated now, but I wonder if this is some sort of divine joke, because you have to receive before you give… in other words, saying “giving is better than receiving” really just means you graduated receiving. Who knows.
I just want to point out that both are important, demonstrated by God and Jesus, and there are ailments on both sides. If you lack one, you’re creating a little kink in your hose of diving flow. Might want to check on that.
Jesus, I am glad you walked on water, because that was frickin’ sweet.