Being Receivers not Givers


The quote below is a Christmas gift from William Willimon to all those who take the Twelve Steps seriously. Here’s a spiritual formation re-write of the first three steps:  “We admit we are powerless over our lives, realize that only God can restore us to sanity, and surrender  our will and our lives to God to manage.”

The Christmas story is not about how blessed it is to be givers but about how essential it is to see ourselvesreceiving as receivers. We prefer to think of ourselves as givers—powerful, competent, self-sufficient, capable people whose goodness motivates us to employ some of our power, competence and gifts to benefit the less fortunate. Which is a direct contradiction of the biblical account of the first Christmas. There we are portrayed not as the givers we wish we were but as the receivers we are.  (From The Christian Century (Dec. 21-28, 1988)


Original first 3 steps:  “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.”

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