SHINE: Open by the Spirit — Open Your Hands to “Receive”

SHINE! … By the Spirit™ with Tonya M. Evans

Open Your Hands to “Receive”

© 2010 Tonya M. Evans

Open hands give and receive

I am the consummate only child.  In fact, I am almost a statistical certainty and here’s why. Studies have shown that only children (and first-borns) tend to be conscientious, ambitious, academically oriented, conforming, conservative, inclined toward leadership, and generally respectful of authority. We’re high-achieving, motivated, and successful. Yup, that’s me. 🙂 But there are also some not-so flattering tendencies as well, I suppose. You know, the spoiled brat thing also known in Chinese culture as the Little Emperor Syndrome.

I choose to claim the more positive attributes … and can neither confirm nor deny ever being a spoiled brat (NOTE: neither of Tonya’s parents could be reached for comment). But let’s just say I was (and still am) “daddy’s little girl” and “momma’s baby bird.” I tended to get what I wanted, I didn’t fully appreciate this novel concept of “sharing” until team sports, and I became convinced at an early age that I am my own best friend; although (thanks to therapy) I’ve worked on playing nicely with others for years now. And although I don’t recall my first word, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was … MINE!

Thankfully however, with developmental and spiritual maturity comes a greater appreciation for the power of opening closed hands – proverbial and actual – to bless both the recipient and, as it turns out, me in the process. So whether we hold onto something tangible (clutter), emotional (unforgiveness) or spiritual (over-emphasis on religious ritual), unclenching our grip on things, people, beliefs and experiences that stall rather than enhance our spiritual growth and abundance allows God’s love to be activated and to work miracles simultaneously in you and in the lives of others.

Unfortunately, our capitalistic society is dominated by getting quickly and holding onto forever an inexhaustive list of things – a car, house, education, spouse, children, stocks, real estate, and so on … or as George Carlin says in his famous comedic rant – our STUFF! Our culture seems to support giving only to the extent that it fulfills the following expectation: “What’s in it for me?” But although Jesus instructed that it is better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35), our intention is as – if not more – important as the act itself.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 best illustrates this teaching:

“He who sows sparingly and grudgingly will also reap sparingly and grudgingly, and he who sows generously [that blessings may come to someone] will also reap generously and with blessings. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

In His divine wisdom, Jesus knew the miracle of giving actually blesses the giver because with OPEN hands we are able to receive as we give. So as we close out this month’s theme of being “Open by the Spirit,” remember in one gesture open hands can signal to God your desire to give and your willingness to receive. In contrast, the image of closed hands communicates the opposite intention – to hold on, to shut down, to oppose or resist.

We are blessed with the free will to “hold on” and close off our access to the power of openness or we can choose to open our hands, loosen our grip and prepare to be the simultaneous conduit for and receiver of the spiritual flow of abundance. And there’s great strength in numbers so just imagine how we could collectively affect positive change in the world if we all decided to open, to release, to give – if even just a little. Open your hand so that like-minds can “touch and agree.” The choice is ours! Which will you choose?

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