How to Be a Good Receiver

by Andy Wood on December 13, 2010

in Five LV Laws, Life Currency, Love, Principle of Increase, Words

‘Tis the season. . . to roll your eyes whenever somebody starts something with “’Tis the season!”


This is the season to give, give give!  Toys for Tots, help for the homeless, marches for missions, and then, of course, those never-ending shopping lists. 

With all the emphasis on giving, how about a nice change of pace?  You’ve heard that God loves a cheerful giver.   Well, guess what givers like?  Cheerful receivers! 

Did you know it’s possible to actually motivate someone to be thoughtful and generous, to feel good about themselves and you?  It all comes when you learn the wonderful art of being a good receiver.  Here are seven ways you can do that:

1.  Empathize with the giver. 

When you receive a gift, take the time to think about what was going on in the heart of the giver. 

If someone handed you a piece of construction paper with child-like scribblings on it, it probably would mean little to you.  But if those scribblings were a hand-made, custom-designed Christmas card from your five-year-old that says, “I love you more than Santa Claus,” it will mean more, both to you and to the giver. 

Nobody is ever totally obligated to give you anything, so when they do, put yourself in their place for a minute.  Why did they give you a gift?  What motivated them to give you what they did?

2.  Match the gift and the giver. 

I keep lots of things I have received long after they are useful or practical to have around, simply because they remind me of the person who gave them to me.  Keep mental notes of who gave you what.  Teach your children to remember where they got their toys, their clothes, or other gifts.  Teach them to remember people long after the clothes are outgrown and the toys are broken.

3.  Beware of expectations. 

Several years ago a watch company ran a series of ads that made me want to throw a ketchup bottle at the TV.  A loving, generous man gives a very expensive watch to the love in his life and she looks disappointed.  The watch, she says, is “nice,” but she was hoping for a different brand (more expensive, of course). 

That attitude may have sold watches, but it doesn’t endear you to people.  The best way to avoid disappointments is to remove your expectations – especially the selfish ones.

4.  Recognize that a price was paid. 

Every gift comes at a price.  But the price isn’t always measured in money.  Sometimes it costs the giver time (those are some of my favorite.) Sometimes it costs them their pride.  Sometimes giving a gift involves taking risks like the risk of rejection.  Sometimes it takes a lot of physical energy.  Acknowledge that all gifts come at a price.

5.  Accept the gift! 

Beware of the words, “I just can’t receive this.”  There are exceptions to this, of course, but gifts are given to be received.  Rejection of a gift implies rejection of a person, so if you aren’t willing to reject a person, be careful about rejecting their gifts.

6.  Celebrate the gift. 

By celebrating, I don’t mean acting goofy, or over-reacting.  I do mean that you delight in the giver.  “Meditate” on the gift by examining it carefully and gratefully.  Show your gift to others as an expression of your pride and satisfaction.  All of that and more are forms of celebration.

7.  Express your gratitude. 

Whether in a formal letter, or an informal smile, there is still magic in the words, “Thank you.”  Say it with your words.  Say it with your eyes.  Say it with your smile.  Say it more than once, with feeling.  Just say it!

Being a good receiver involves learning to E.M.B.R.A.C.E. others.  After all, that is what giving and receiving is all about. 

Nearly two thousand years ago, God, the greatest Giver, gave us His Son, the greatest Gift.  You want to put Christ in Christmas?  Be a good receiver…

Empathize with the Giver by understanding what motivated Him to send Christ – the Gift – to the world. 

Match the gift and the giver; remember that the birth of Jesus was His initiative, not yours. 

Beware of selfish expectations. 

Recognize the price that was paid in blood and heart for your Gift. 

Accept the Gift by welcoming Christ in your heart as Savior, Lord, and Forever Friend.

Celebrate it by delighting in the Giver and by sharing the Gift with others.  And never stop…

Expressing your gratitude for the ways you continue to receive from Him.

Oh come… let us embrace Him!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Evelyn December 13, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Beautiful . . . just beautiful. So true gratitude completes the rest of circle begun by the blessing itself! And both the giver and the receiver will reap the benefits of joy and humility and grace. Thank you for reminding us of such Truth.

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