“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me
receives him who sent me.”
–Jesus, Matthew 10:40
You may have heard about a big game today between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals. As an LA guy, I’m pulling for our local team to win Super Bowl LVI. I’m hoping that the Rams defense has a great day behind all-stars Aaron Donald and Von Miller. And I’m hoping that the Rams offense can light up the scoreboard with quarterback, Matthew Stafford, connecting with star receivers, Odell Beckham Jr., Cooper Kupp, and others. Though I admit it’s a stretch, my theme for today’s article concerns receivers and receiving. But not the kind of receivers who play in the Super Bowl.
In Matthew 10, Jesus sends out twelve disciples on a short-term mission trip to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. They are instructed to proclaim the good news of the kingdom, cure the sick, and cast out demons. Jesus warns the disciples that they will not receive a warm welcome from everyone and concludes his instructions with a reminder: “Whoever receives you receives me.”
I have always understood this verse as a word of comfort to Christians who seek to bear witness in a sometimes hostile world. But recently, I’ve been challenged to reflect more deeply on this verse. In his book Love Kindness: Discover the Power of a Forgotten Christian Virtue, Barry Corey shares about his missionary father, Hugh. Hugh had a unique strategy for communicating the message of God’s grace through Jesus. He called it “being receivable,” and it was based on Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:40.
To Hugh Corey, this meant that in everything he did, he sought to make himself receivable to those God placed in his life. Hugh asked his son, “Barry, if the lives God intersects with mine don’t have the opportunity to receive me, how will they ever know the love God has for them?” Hugh Corey’s insight was that living a life of kindness was the best way to be receivable. He saw Jesus’ words in Matthew 10:40 as an invitation to remove the obstacles that keep others from seeing Jesus within us.
What might “being receivable” look like for us? Dropping defensive and combative postures and practicing listening and civility. Showing kindness and being respectful toward ideological rivals. Not expecting a “thank you” or a commendation for the kindness shown. Entering a room, not with the attitude of “Here I am!” but rather of “There you are!” May God grant that we grow in the grace of being receivable, for the sake of God’s kingdom reign.