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Linda Beck: Two hands

My very favorite Christian leader has always been Rev. Billy Graham. I was blessed in 1996 to finally get to hear and see him in Charlotte. I had even taken a study course to prepare myself to be a prayer leader to those who went forward at the end of the service.

Rev. Graham has led hundreds of thousands (or millions?) to invite Jesus into their hearts and many have become witnesses to others. When we arrived at the stadium, it was a very long walk to our seats. Unfortunately, because of my health problems I could not walk down to the ground floor as I would not have been able to climb the steps or stand for very long.

So the decision was made that I would watch, listen, and pray for those who needed Christ in their lives. I felt very blessed to have been able to attend the crusade Bible studies and I still have the wonderful literature that we were given, but I’ve always regretted that I could not take part during the call forward at the end of the service.

The music was very uplifting and Rev. Graham delivered a wonderful message. If I had not already been a Christian, I might have gone down those steps and across the field to make that commitment even though it would have been physically very difficult.

I have since read the Bible through at least six times and some of Dr. Graham’s writings, but I should read more of his books! One day there was a little “Common Sense” blurb on the editorial page in The Salisbury Post. It was a statement by Billy Graham. I felt this story forming in my mind. His statement went as follows: “God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with.”

I looked at my two hands and thought about all the things for which they had been used. I raised two children and helped with some others through the years. I did chores for my mama growing up and even helped some after I was married. I used my hands to comfort and express love to my husband.

During my teenage years, I earned 50 cents an hour doing housework and ironing for two neighbors. (That was one of those giving and receiving episodes on both our parts.) I used my hands to do in-school work and homework. We didn’t have typewriters and computers then.

My two hands did a lot of giving and receiving before age and illness began to have a critical effect. If anyone could see how bad my handwriting is now, they might wonder why I still write stories. But receiving the Dragon Naturally Speaking has enabled me to continue sharing with others the purpose God chose for me.

I receive so many blessings from sharing my thoughts and writings with others. I know I have received these blessings from family, friends, and even strangers. I thought again about Dr. Graham’s “two- hand statement,” and I know that in some people “one hand” is certainly more able to “receive” than the other one is able to “give.”

There are times when my “giving hand” was useful for what God expected, but my “receiving hand” today is busier because of people “giving love” to me in so many ways. I have become the “receiver” more than the “giver.”

When I see pictures or hear stories of how many of our soldiers have lost arms, hands, or legs in war, I get mad at myself for complaining about the pain in my wrist and fingers.

These folks receive some blesssings just like the rest of us, but they sacrificed their bodies in service to our country. Then I just look at my one stiff finger and praise God that I still have two hands and ten fingers. (I almost lost one finger in an accident many years ago.)

I’ve heard stories about how in some foreign countries, people eat with their right hand and clean with their left. I’ve also heard of the hands of the thief being cut off in punishment for his deeds. But I don’t think this is really God’s purpose in Rev. Graham’s statement about the receiving hand and the giving hand. I believe Rev. Graham’s purpose was just getting our attention… Are you a receiver, giver, or a little of both, or not much of either? Look at your hands, praise God (even if they are gnarled and ugly) that he has blessed you with hands for as long as you still have them.

 

Linda Beck lives in Woodleaf.

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