Two Words: Thank You.

Two Words: Thank You.

“God wants us to be grateful even before we ask and well before He answers.” ~ It’s Good to Be Queen

LOVED your comments last week about generous giving. Look how wise you are, just like our Sheba:

  • “The joy I get from seeing how happy I have made someone is worth so much more than the monetary value of what I have given.”–Gabriela
  • “Nothing really belongs to us anyway. The Bible says we are pilgrims and strangers here on earth, so why not give all that we can?”–Sheila
  • “I don’t have much money, but I can do small acts of kindnesses for others.”–Karen
  • “Giving time to the very young, the elderly and the poor, all of whom cannot give back, blesses me more than I could ever bless them.”–Sally
  • “Sharing keeps filling me up inside instead of emptying me out. Only God could create such a wonder! “–Shannon

Now comes the tricky part (at least, for this girl): accepting gifts from generous people. When it was Solomon’s turn to give, the queen of Sheba wasn’t afraid to ask or ashamed to receive. Let’s see what she can teach us.

Chapter Nine: It’s Good to Receive Graciously

King Solomon gave the queen of Sheba
all she desired and asked for,
besides what he had given her out of his royal bounty.
1 Kings 10:13

Never mind all the salacious, ungracious stories about Sheba. What she desired and asked for wasn’t a night of passion with Solomon or a son born out of wedlock. That’s the stuff of legends, not biblical fact.

The truth is, “She came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom” (Matthew 12:42). When the king did his part, she didn’t refuse his gifts, didn’t say, “I couldn’t possibly!” Nope. She received.

That’s what we’re called to do as well, beloved. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5).

In Sheba’s case, wisdom was keenly sought after, boldly asked for, generously given, and graciously received. That’s the essence of her style. It can be ours as well. “In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

Rest assured, the Lord is prepared to answer and delighted to give, often bestowing those gifts through His children. Still, we hesitate, feeling we’re not worthy, fearing what might be expected of us if we accept such a gift.

Sisters, those of us who find it hard to receive need to get over it. Stop thinking about ourselves and focus on the giver. How can we show our gratitude? How can make this exchange a blessing for them? How can we say “thank you” and mean it with all our hearts?

If you’ve read chapter 9, you know how God has been working on this prickly issue in my life. Whew. He is relentless when it comes to shaping and molding and changing His children.

And how are we to receive those changes? You got it.

with thanksgiving

I’ll answer one of this week’s Study Guide questions, then hope you’ll do the same. Who knew the queen of Sheba had so much to teach us by example?

1 Timothy 4:4

From the Study Guide

2. a. How does our willingness to receive from others prepare us to receive God’s abundant gift of eternal life?

Here’s what I know to be true: the only one way to receive a gift is humbly and with gratitude. Both require me to surrender any “I’ve got this” kind of thinking and my “Thanks, but no thanks” attitude. Sounds hard.

But, I’m finding the solution is amazingly simple. Say yes. Yes to my neediness. Yes to my brokenness. Yes to the gift. Yes to the giver. Yes to God. And yes, always yes, to gratitude.

“Thank you.” Really, that’s it. In word and in Spirit.

Thank you, Father, for giving Your Son and forgiving our sin. Help us keep Your ultimate Gift in mind when smaller gifts are given to us, knowing every one pours through Your hands. You are beyond good to us, Lord. Keep us humble, grateful, and eager to receive whatever You have for us.

James 1:17

Now, it’s your turn

2. c. When has God tested your willingness to receive, and what did you discover in the process? Can’t wait to hear what you’ve learned! Just click on Share Your Thoughts below.

Your grateful sister, Liz
Your sister, Liz Curtis Higgs BibleGateway Blogger Grid I am honored to write for P31 Ministries Love being part of (in)courage!

P.S. Hop over to Vimeo for my brief, free video teaching on Chapter Nine.  And here’s a pretty wallpaper for your smart phone or tablet, reminding you It’s Good to Receive Graciously. One more week with the queen of Sheba, then we’ll dive into a short Bible study to carry us through the last two months of 2015. Join me for A Season of Joy!

So…if you’re feeling generous, might you post a brief review of It’s Good to Be Queen on Amazon? It would mean the world to me, and might help others who are considering whether or not to read it. Thank you!

19 Responses to Two Words: Thank You.

  1. Vickie Crews October 24, 2015 at 9:08 am #

    Well, yesterday I scheduled texts on gratitude to go out the first 15 days of November for our church. My father’s funeral is on Monday and I am scheduled for a total hip replacement on Tuesday. I am finding that I am needing to say “yes” and “thank you” quite a bit in the last few days. I do not know what I would be doing right now if not for my generous community of friends. with a dead father and a major surgery, I am acutely aware of my need. I am also aware that God ALWAYS provides, even when I am having a logistical meltdown!

  2. Kristi October 24, 2015 at 9:20 am #

    I have been a pastor’s wife for so many years and God’s people are and have been so good to us. It has been a lesson for me to learn how to receive graciously and with complete thankfulness. I have learned that we can’t “steal the blessing” from those who want to give. ..if the Holy Spirit prompts them, then you have to let them and then let the thankfulness flow out of your life to bless others.

  3. Paula Timpson October 24, 2015 at 10:19 am #

    Asking and receiving are two very different things~
    we ask for Gods will
    He delivers whats best for us
    and this is so beautiful

  4. Lauraine October 24, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    When My daughter was 7 years old she contracted Reyes Syndrome.
    The entire American Community in Bremerhaven, Germany prayed for her even though it was not expected that she would live. You see, the German doctors in Bremen, where she was air-evacuated had never seen “Reyes” and were treating her for encephalitis. Wrong for her diagnosis by the GI Docs. #1, Prayers work! #2. we received a community donation from the Small American Christian community. We could have said “No Thanks!” but we decided that we would “pay it forward.” It turned out to be almost the exact amount of the bill for the Air-evacuation! The German Drs. and the Bremen Hospital decided not to charge us for their services. We not only received a much needed financial lift, but a resolve to help others in need, thus continuing God’s great Love. Never forget God’s work in the Gifts you receive! Praise His Holy Name

  5. Blanche Hake October 24, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

    As a volunteer tutor of ESL (English as a Second Language) students, I find that I am on the receiving end of gifts which had to cause some sacrifice for the students. Many of them have families, and are working at minimum wages. I have learned to just say or write, “Thank you.” I could very easily upset them if I did not accept the gifts. We must be aware of cultural differences among our diverse immigrants, many of whom have college degrees, but aren’t allowed to work at their professions until they pass tests in English. I give of my time, but the joy I receive from them is awesome. I thank God daily for the blessing of being able to continue as I age. Bless you for the study.

  6. Susan G. October 24, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

    This is hard one for me too Liz. I have improved in this area, but I must admit I still feel those old feelings start to rise that want to say, “oh no, I can’t take it”…but I do keep resisting those feelings. I have realized that I too would be rejecting someone’s blessing to me.
    Last year one of my best girlfriends gifted me with a brand new leather coat, that didn’t seem to fit her after she brought it home. The Lord told her to give it to me, and that was the only reason I could keep it at the time. It did fit me perfectly and she said she didn’t pay even close to what the tag still said: $350.!
    For a few days I was thinking ‘what can I buy her in return’, but I realized I can’t do that because that would negate her ‘just because’ gift to me.
    These are two great verses too Liz – James 1:17 and I Timothy 4:4.
    Nothing like His Word to set us straight. 🙂
    Thanks for always blessing us with your wisdom and your awesome wit!

  7. Wendy October 24, 2015 at 2:19 pm #

    I just had surgery a few days ago so am off my feet for a few weeks and no driving for 2 weeks. So, a few people have brought meals in and today a friend came and took me for an hour out to a small craft show and then for coffee and a tart. It is very hard to accept all this because It’s usually me being the doer and giver. However, I did accept and we had a lovely time out this morning and the meals were wonderful. The people that gave all said they were happy to do it. Receiving is a much harder lesson than giving!!!

  8. sharon October 24, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

    God has such perfect timing! Like Wendy, I also just had surgery. Right before the surgery, I read this chapter and wow did it come just in time. Instead of turning away all of these wonderful offers of help, I gratefully accepted them and was so blessed by God through these generous people. I really learned a lot and got another taste of how good God is!

  9. Patti Skean October 25, 2015 at 7:50 am #

    Thank you! I do say it a lot but also have trouble with being gracious at times and/or meaning it when it is from some people. ouch.
    *** I am LOVING these posts since I am subscribed to you BUT – my book club group is thinking of doing this in the summer. Will we be able to somehow find these then? Are they archived at least? Thank you, patti

  10. Anna October 25, 2015 at 11:46 am #

    Liz , when I give whether or not it is material or from my heart and actions and it is received with graciousness there is no better compliment I could ever have, such a blessing. In His love , Anna

  11. Stephanie October 25, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

    Several years ago, we were informed that we had a leak under our house. The repair needed to be done, and was very expensive. Through the loving generosity of our small group, we were able to have the work done. Since then, our financial circumstances are quite changed, and we have enjoyed helping out so many others financially. What a blessing to share the abundance God gives us with others! I especially love doing it anonymously.

  12. Sheri Brewer October 25, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

    I lost my left eye in 1991. I was sent from Germany to Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland as they tried for three months to save the eye. I lost the eye, but back in Germany friends kept our dog for three months . They held my husbands position for three months while he cared for me at Bethesda. The Air Force payed my husband to be my guardian for three months, plus the Army continued his pay for three months. While we were in Maryland we had friends who had just moved to Arlington from Germany and they took us into their home and care between my many surgeries. Parents made sure we had a car. The care I got was second to none! There was someone there every step of the way. And a very special Someone taught us to be grateful and be honest about our needs. He was in all the details before even one surgery took place. His Hand continues to meet our needs through others and now we enjoy so much giving back to others in need. You cannot out give God!

  13. Sherri October 25, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

    God has been testing my willingness to receive over the past several months as I’ve undergone treatment for breast cancer. I am one who is always more than willing to help others, but I have suddenly found myself in a place where I am having to learn to be the receiver by necessity. I am unable to do all I once could, and while that may not be true forever (even in this life), it certainly is true now. Every time I think I am finally at a place of getting back to normal, the next phase of treatment knocks me right back to “uh uh, not yet,” which is very frustrating for someone who has been so independent for so long.

    I’ve discovered through this that there are more people and more lives I’ve touched than I ever knew, and God has used many, many of them as part of my “great cloud of witnesses” as I’ve run this difficult lap. Their cheers from the stands have been just the encouragement I’ve needed when I wanted to quit, particularly as I round this final bend known as radiation. God has graciously healed me completely – I started with a 5 cm tumor, but chemo completely obliterated it, which was confirmed by my surgeon (who did a lumpectomy only to find nothing there) and the pathology report. The cancer is completely gone. But now I face this final part of treatment, and God continues to provide people to meet needs, some of which I didn’t even know I had (or was too prideful to mention). He continues to teach me about His power, sovereignty, and faithfulness, and of the beauty of the Body. My job is to “be still and know that [He] is God,” allowing Him to care for me through the generosity of His people, the Body.

  14. Agnes McElya Butler October 26, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

    In 1965 I had moved on a new church field; I was busy unpacking and making the church parsonage my home. Bam! My left leg swelled more than twice the size and was very painful. I packed my two son’s in the old car and headed to a doctor I had never seen before. He stood the boys on the exam table and told them if they wanted anything they could not reach at home to get a chair and climb because mom could die if the blood clot moved(I refused hospital since I knew no one ) The next morning the milk man (church member) delivered milk, inquired and I told as little as I could. About 2 hrs later an 89 year old church member walked a mile & half with her dog and a cane to see me. She asked what she could do. I got the lesson of my life on “receiving” when I told Ms Green to sit and rest & visit!

    She came to give a blessing and I was about to deny her of a blessing! I thanked her and accepted her kitchen help! I learned a vivid lesson on receiving and saying “thank you”.

  15. Joann Hickman October 27, 2015 at 10:53 am #

    I often find it hard to receive, but I have learned that by not receiving we are keeping others from experiencing the blessing of giving. No matter how small or how great the gift, it is often a person’s love language. To refuse their gift is to refuse their love. That is help me to be more willing to receive. I just think about it as receiving their love.

  16. Brenda Davidson October 30, 2015 at 7:10 am #

    I would love to have your parable book for my grandchildren

  17. Margie October 30, 2015 at 8:15 am #

    Growing up in a family of 10 children, we often didn’t have extra money to buy new clothes for us. Whenver we were given a big bag of clothes, we looked through it to see if there was anything that fit. As I grew older, I resented not getting new clothes. My mother, in her wisdom, chided me, saying, “It is more blessed to give than to receive. If we don’t receive graciously, that prevents the blessing to the giver.” I’ve tried to remember that over the years & now, raising four boys of our own, we thank God for “hand-me-downs”. We for sure couldn’t afford to buy new clothes for all our children. I actually look forward to getting a bag of “new-to-me” clothes! Thanks be to God for supplying our needs & not necessarily our wants!

  18. Heather October 30, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    Thank you! For today’s devotion you shared through Proverbs 31 Ministries ‘Encouragement for Today’! I would love to be entered in the drawing for a copy of your new Parable Treasury. I have recently become a MoPS (Mothers of Preschoolers ministry) Mentor Mom & actually feel like I’m getting a taste of what it will be like to be a grandparent! I love mentoring these young moms & shared this morning’s devotion with them. Would love to share your book as well!

  19. Diane C. Witherspoon November 5, 2015 at 12:35 pm #

    One of my favorite ways of sharing and caring is little red felt hearts. I can get one piece of felt at the craft store and cut it into strips, then into squares and then into hearts. I put them in cards, pass them to neighbors (mailboxes), the children distribute them at church (valentine’s day – some people don’t get valentines) Small, inexpensive but caring. After church one Sunday I went through the cashier’s check out line and she had a red heart on her lapel (they stick to most any clothing) I asked her where she got her heart – some lady (from our church) came through her line and gave it to her “in love”. She really smiled and I do too. I never told her where it originated – In my tv room the night before. One lady had them glued to her mirror at home – quite a collection. My heart smiled for days…… Simple but caring. anyone can do this and many other things to give a smile!