Annie and Me

Christians who write poetry always interest me as that is my bent also. Christians who have chronic illness and write poetry interest me even more! Recently on a radio program I heard Ravi Zacharias quote a poem by Annie Johnson Flint and was moved to look up her biography. One story is told that “She had been brought up with a sturdy independence. She still struggled to make ends meet. She still sought to cut down expenses in order that she might be able to pay as she went. The thought of charity was obnoxious to her. She loved to give to others and help those who were in need, but to receive from others—that was quite another matter. The breaking down of her prejudice in this sphere came about in a very simple way. One of the boarders staying at the house where she lived, when saying good-bye, tactfully slipped into her hand a gift of money. This was the first time such a thing had ever happened, and Annie’s pride was up in arms at once. The woman evidently noticed a difference in her manner and explained that she wished to leave some remembrance with her, but not knowing what her special need might be, thought it better to let her choose. Then she added something which went home. Annie never forgot it. She said, “You know Jesus Christ said ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive,’ but how can there be any givers to whom the blessing can come unless there are those who are willing to receive? It takes two halves to make a whole” Then she appealed to Annie and asked if their positions were reversed and she had the means, would she not be glad to give? This turned things around so completely that she had to admit that she had no right to withhold from others the blessing of giving. She took the gift so kindly meant, and tried to be a willing receiver if that would help some giver to obtain a blessing. Her life was lived, as someone has said, from hand to mouth, but as she liked to have it expressed, the mouth was hers, and the hand was God’s and His hand was never empty.” https://www.preceptaustin.org/annie_johnson_flints_biography

When I was very a very young Christian with a very young child I suffered a back injury. The women of the church decided to come and help me. It was difficult for me to receive from them. They mopped my floors, changed my daughter’s diapers, brought in food, tried to encourage and comfort me. My mother had drummed into me about “more blessed to give than to receive.” I had to learn how to receive thankfully and humbly. It was a very difficult lesson for me. I stumbled again and again over my pride.”The thought of charity was obnoxious to her.” In this Annie had to learn the same lessons God asked me to learn.

Pride © Molly Lin Dutina Pride – oh that hateful force which comes from the heart of man and defiles him (MK 7:22). The pride of life is not of the Father, but it is of the world (1JN2:16). When a man is lifted up with pride he falls into the condemnation of the devil (1 TIM 3:6).

                Jesus gave himself fully and willingly for our sakes. He didn’t die to wash away just part of our sins. He was God’s complete and thorough sacrifice. Are we fully committed to Jesus for the sacrifice He made for us?              

                God has given us gifts to use and jobs to do to further His Kingdom. We are to try, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to do our best in all things as unto the Lord (EPH 6:5-6). However, it is difficult to render service when the service is unwanted or denied. It is equally difficult for our Father to give to us if we refuse to receive.

                 “You will never wash my feet—ever!” Peter said. Jesus replied, “If I don’t wash you, you have no part with Me.” (JN 13:8 HCSB)  From this we know that if we do not let Jesus help us, wash us, and enter every part of our lives, then we are keeping apart from Him.

                “I assure you with all truth, a slave is not superior to his master, nor one who is sent to the one who sent him. If you know these teachings, blessed are you if you practice them.” (JN 13:16-17) God has a plan for each of us to follow in serving Him. That plan includes other people. In His service, we can learn the Lord’s consternation as He stands at the door and knocks. It is impossible to help or serve other people if their pride refuses to let us enter.

                Our pride, (which is of the world) has taken Scripture, (which is God’s Holy Word) and twisted it to the point where many of us fail to recognize and receive gifts from our heavenly Father. Acts 20:35 states, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Oh, how many of us have been brainwashed with the abuse of this Scripture, heading worldly doctrines of pride, to the point where we can’t receive from others? Jesus also said, “Freely you have received, freely give.” (MT 10:8) We aren’t taught very much about the Lord’s attitude in this age. In fact, we are skeptical of anything given without cost.

                Do we receive freely from our Heavenly Father? Have we taken Him up on all that is offered to us? Do we receive freely from our brothers and sisters in Christ? Or do they and the Father have to stop just short of our pride, knocking humbly at the door, wanting to freely give to us and provide that which will help further the kingdom of God? Are we slowing His progress by being too proud to receive?

                “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (PROV 16:18)

“Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart. May the foot of the proud not come against me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.” (PS 36:10-11 NIV)

Is the thought of receiving obnoxious to you? “How can there be any givers to whom the blessing can come unless there are those who are willing to receive ? It takes two halves to make a whole.” If you remain unwilling, how then will you ever receive the good your heavenly Father has in store for you? Open your hands, your heart and your life to His giving. He most often does that from one person to another!

One thought on “Annie and Me

  1. Receiving gifts humbly and thankfully is difficult at times….well said. I think that we need to give to others humbly and with contrition as well.

    Like

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