Right now much of Canada is paying attention to the Toronto Blue Jays, by default Canada’s favourite Major League Baseball team, particularly as they are our only MLB team! There is a lot in the press about the pitching staff, the guys who deliver the ball, and the hitters. Little attention is paid to the back catchers, yet they really do ‘back’ up the team. What I suspect most people don’t think a lot about is the role of the catcher in helping the pitcher. They need to develop a subtle communication so that generally the catcher knows what pitch is coming and positions his glove to receive the catch. The positioning of the catcher’s glove helps the pitcher’s delivery.
I don’t want to press this analogy too much, and I am not a baseball expert. The only time I remember ever watching a full baseball game on TV was when the Blue Jays were in the World Series in the early 1990’s. I did however play some ball and helped coach so allow me to make a spiritual connection. The way we position our heart to receive an impartation affects the delivery of the anointing. These concepts may seem odd at first but Jesus addressed this in a couple of ways, without ever using the words ‘impart’ or ‘impartation,’ yet expressing the reality of how we receive what is being imparted.
The joy of discovering these things hiding in ‘plain sight’ in the bible is an example of our Father hiding things not from us but for us.
2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter. Proverbs 25:2 (NKJV)
For me a great illustration of this came in listening to a message by John Paul Jackson a few years ago. He said after his teaching someone came up and asked him what bible he was using. He responded the NKJV. The man then said he wasn’t interested in the version, he just never saw the things John Paul saw in the bible until John Paul shared them. Is that our experience? They are there, we just need to seek the Holy Spirit for clues and then follow them.
So what did Jesus say about receiving? One area He addressed was our need to prepare our hearts. This aspect is presented in the parable of the sower.
11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience. 16 No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lampstand, that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. 18 Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.” Luke 8:11-18 (NKJV)
We know from verse 12 that what we hear with, and where the seed is sown, is in our hearts. In this passage Jesus said those who received and bore fruit were those with a ‘noble and good heart” and then nurture what they received. So a very important aspect in being ‘positioned to receive’ is the posture of our heart, ideally a receptive and faith filled heart. Do we have one?
Jesus also addressed another aspect of receiving.
48 and said to them, “Whoever receives this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him who sent Me. For he who is least among you all will be great.” Luke 9:48 (NKJV) 40 “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” Matthew 10:40-42 (NKJV)
In these two passages Jesus refers to receiving children, prophets, and the righteous. The key point is that what is imparted to us is conditioned by how we receive. For example, if we receive a prophet as something other than a prophet than we do not receive a prophet’s reward, the benefit of their prophetic ministry. We may receive other things from them but likely not the thing we need to move us forward in further connecting us to His purpose in our lives. My goal in stating this is not to elevate ministries and offices in the church, rather to get us to seek and discern in our interactions with others. We may receive a greater download from the person next to us at a meeting than from the famous speaker if we discern the anointing they carry. As the church we need to lay down worldly standards and embrace godly ones if we are to truly grow. We need to learn to discern and discern to learn!