it is better to give than to receive; but is even better when you give and it is well received”
That happened to me at Homestead United Methodist Church, and you may wonder why Miguel is talking about an specific church if most of the time he just talk about God. Well I believe God place people, places, moments in our way for us to be able to learn something. Sometimes we learn to be patient, other times to be joyful, may be we learn about good values or the power of generosity, or just simple as becoming good friends so we can have each other in difficult times. But what I learned from this place was far beyond my understanding of love and friendship. I gave a teaching two months ago because my friend Jeff Streszoff who is the pastor invited me to teach to both of his churches,not because he likes the way I teach, but because he was going on vacation and he needed someone to cover up for him (just a little joke for him).
I was nervous because it was a while since I taught in another church as a guest speaker. What if they do not like my teaching? Well at least, I say to myself, if they do not like what I teach they won’t see me again, and Jeff will be in charge to clean up my mess. To be honest I did not prepare a laborious sermon of three points and great tips on how to be a better person. Not at all!..my teaching for that Sunday was done while sitting in a local coffee shop and writing in a holly napkin. (oh with coffee stains and probably cheesecake on it). Holly napkins (named after my aunt Holly, not because of their status, just kidding) are this little piece of papers where great teachings, books, projects and organizations are born. That teaching was not from a Theological research but from my heart. It was a teaching about my own life. From this napkin not only a Sunday teaching was born, but also the title of my book: The Way of Simplicity. I did not prepared hours putting together this, I wrote a couple of scriptures and some ideas and put the napkin in my pocket. The rest of the week I was thinking about it. So when the day came I decided to go as real as possible because I was talking about my own journey into simplicity, so grabbed my jeans, my chaco sandals(good and trendy sandals.( Hey! I am a cool pastor here) and my Mexican guayabera (style of shirt from the gulf of Mexico) and departed to my destination. Oh and I grabbed my napkin.
Let me tell you, I taught with passion and I did a couple of things that I will never do in my own church, but if they did not like it, hey Jeff!!! please clean my mess!!!but what I learn from this Sunday is that is better when you give and it is well received. What I have to give to these people was my honest, sincere, and real heart, they received it and I was blown away from their response. From that experience of giving without expecting anything in return, I became good friend of some members of the church. They offered me their friendship, their home, their food and their unconditional love. They loved me without questioning, they care about me not as a friend of his pastor, or just because I was also a pastor, they cared for me as a friend, as a fellow human being. Their friendship and words they take time to write on facebook have helped me during these difficult moments in my life, and guess what? I received all of that and now I consider them my adopted American family!!!
When we can received what has been given, receiving becomes a gift and a door of opportunities that opens for us and everybody else. Gifts are meant to bless, to bring a good time, or just a nice laugh. When we learn to receive, we are learning to welcome the generous heart of others. Lets start learning not only to give but to receive.