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Stealing a Blessing

He reached in his back pocket for the wallet that wasn’t there. Embarrassed, he told the young man at the till that he must have forgotten his wallet at home and that he could go home and get it and be right back. The young cashier turned to another young man behind the counter. They both looked stumped as to what to do, what to allow. The silence as the two employees and the customer exchanged uncertain glances added to the embarrassment and was uncomfortable to watch.

From my position behind, I asked what was needed, and paid for the gentleman’s gas. He clearly had simply forgotten his wallet at home. He was grateful, but insistent that I give him my information or wait for him until he returned so he could pay me back. I told him we would be going through the car wash so would likely be at the station for a while, but suggested he forget about paying us back and just do the same for someone else when he got the chance.

We all know about Jacob stealing Esau’s birthright and blessing. We may not be as familiar with the times when we steal blessings from others because it is hard for us to receive.

When I was a young college student, I typed a paper for one of the male students who then offered me a donation for my service. I resisted his kind gesture but he insisted I take the $2-5 he wanted to give me (it’s too long ago for me to remember the amount!). As I reluctantly took his offering, he stuck his head back through the residence hall doorway and gently said to me, “Betty, the Lord only gives to those who can receive.” It was one of those moments we all have from time to time, that remains with us for a lifetime. And it planted the seed in my heart that would develop as I learned the lesson of receiving graciously.

Before we were finished at the station, the man had indeed returned. He found our car, pulled alongside, and we both got out. He gave me two bills which came to more than the cost of the gas and asked me if it was enough. I said it was too much and tried to return one of his bills. He insisted I keep it and said for Ron and I to have a coffee on him. He again thanked me for my help earlier.

So as I sat to write today, the theme was going to be receiving graciously so that we don’t rob another person of the blessing of giving. The gentlemen who couldn’t seem to receive what I was offering would be the focal point of the lesson. In insisting on paying me back, he stole the joy of the blessing I would have had of giving to him! Instead, I hear Holy Spirit telling me to receive the gentleman’s blessing of gratefulness graciously, and so, as is so often the case, the lesson is mine to learn regardless of what I had originally intended. “Betty, the Lord only gives to those who can receive.”

Thanks C.K. for planting the seed so long ago. I’m still learning!


Father, help us to receive good blessings from your hand with gratitude and grace. Help us to bless others in a way that brings honor and glory to you alone. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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