On receiving....


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Dear Friends:

Tonight I took the three boys that now live here “trick or treating”.  It was the first time I have ever taken kids to collect candy, and I must say that I was amazed at how many children and their families walked the streets of Pilot Mountain collecting candy,  greeting each other and taking candy from total strangers!  It was something I have not seen in many years and I was touched.

What caught my attention immediately was how appreciative the older folks were to invite the children and youth into their homes to receive the candy. Porch lights were on, jack-o-lanterns were lit, and their was a festive spirit of good will and generosity.  I have not seen such kindness in my little community even at Christmas!

But on the way home from Pilot Mountain I was moved almost to tears as we passed by the country homes in the rural part of the county.  Our camp is twenty minutes from town, and the homes between town and the camp are spread out pretty thin. But to my surprise many of the small homes had their porch lights---just as in the little town of Pilot Mountain. I passed by several homes on the drive home thinking that I had never knocked on any of those doors in my 30+ years here and was not about to do it tonight!  But something within me urged me to stop at a very small home that had a porch light on and let the boys ask for “treats”.  So we stopped, the boys ran to the house, and I could see a slight, older lady hurry to the door with candy for the boys. She talked to them, invited them inside, gave them double portions, and then we continued our drive.  But I felt inclined to stop again..and then again.. and for the rest of the drive home we stopped at every lonely home that had a porch light on.

Every home we stopped at (save one) had only a older widow in the home.  But those little ladies were delighted  to the boys race up to the front porch. One said that we were the only ones to come by for trick or treat, and another told us that we were the first to come in five years.

Yes, the boys have huge sacks of sugar-laden candy, but in a very tangible way, my boys gave twenty+  widows and a very old couple something those folks desperately needed—the ability to give.  These widows know the blessedness that comes from giving and they have been denied that joy, it appears, for months and even years.

We were made in the image of God, and our destiny is to be conformed  to the image/mind of Jesus Christ. God is a giver, Jesus is a giver, the Holy Spirit is a giver and all who have grown in His image delight  in giving.

Paul wrote in the book of Acts: “...ye ought to support the weak and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Tonight my three boys experienced the excitement of receiving—-and praise God they did receive!  By receiving from these sweet people, the boys gave those widows joy, purpose and the fulfillment of knowing that they had done a selfless and blessed thing—-they had given with no expectation or means of “getting back”. 

I need to be a gracious receiver for those that want to give and to teach the youth and children that it is truly more blessed to give than receive. But being a courteous and excited receiver made a lot of little ladies quite happy tonight.


Dean Barley

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