The Giving Tree is one of those classic written for children books that speaks more deeply to adults than children. If you’ve never read it, I encourage you to. Shel Silverstein is a gifted author who perfectly portrays the quality of selfless, want nothing in return giving through a tree. Our copy is buried somewhere with The Cat In The Hat and The B Book.

Several years ago Jim’s truck caught on fire as he was driving through a neighborhood. He grabbed three year old Travis and put him on a stranger’s front porch yelling for help. The first person who came to his rescue with a fire extinguisher was a deaf man. I’m not sure about the details of that.

After having it towed to the repair shop Jim learned the charred truck could be salvaged, but it would take several weeks. Organizing our schedule with the kids in one vehicle would be like putting together a 500 piece box puzzle with some of the pieces missing.

The next night, visiting with a group over dessert, we laughed about the guy who couldn’t hear being the first to help out and that Jim left his son on a random front porch. A man we had only met a couple of times said, “Jim we have three vehicles and there are only two of us. We insist you drive our car until your truck is fixed.”

Jim said, “Oh I couldn’t do that. It will take weeks.”

“So. We came in two cars tonight, we’ll leave one for you.” He must have read The Giving Tree. We had no idea what to say and he was so generous it made us feel uncomfortable. Why is receiving awkward?

I was given a wonderful gift recently and I immediately started explaining why I couldn’t accept it. It’s a knee jerk reaction. I wonder if it is pride. Then it hit me … Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than receive.” It’s even written in the red letters. No wonder it feels better when you are on the giving end than the receiving. That’s the secret the big tree understood.

So when you don’t receive a gift, you block the blessing for the giver. I suppose it’s simply best to say thank you, smile, and not only be an unselfish giver, but also learn to be a gracious receiver.

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