Its better to give than to receive

yorkshire Hey all,  I am so excited as we have a guest writer for the blog this week.  I’d like to introduce David Holmes. Yes, as you might of guessed by the last name we are related.  This is my amazing father in law!  David has an amazing testimony and is a gifted writer.  I know you will enjoy his insights. 


One of my clearest childhood memories concerns an incident in my life that took place just before Christmas 1948. Every Sunday my mother would take my younger sister and I to church. This particular Sunday, on a singularly cold Yorkshire winter’s morning, my mother was striding determinedly on towards the church pushing a pram in which my sister was happily enjoying the view of the crisp snow from her snug and comfortable position. By contrast I was reluctantly being almost dragged along by my mother, clutching my most favourite toy, a shiny bright red toy railway engine, with wheels that actually went round.

Very best toy

Very best toy

Why the reluctance? Our church was collecting toys as gifts for local orphanage children who might otherwise have no joy on Christmas day. A most worthwhile and noble cause.

All well and good I thought, but why me? Or more particularly, why my very best toy, the one toy I couldn’t possibly live without? I had offered up alternatives: my fourth best toy: a stuffed giraffe with one ear missing (victim of a practice surgical operation that had gone wrong) and a wooden racing car that still had three wheels. I had even offered to donate my little sister. But all these eminently sensible alternatives had been peremptorily rejected by my mother who, I’m sure, was determined that I benefit from learning the noble Christian ethic that it is better to give than to receive.

I don’t recall learning that lesson then, instead I formed a (thankfully short-lived) resentment of orphans, and ever since that day the sight of a shiny red railway engine prods a nostalgic nerve in my psyche. Thomas, of course, doesn’t count – he’s blue.

David and Val in the U.S.

David and Val in the U.S.

Move forward through sixty five years of life; school, university, marriage, children, grandchildren, overseas missions, several diverse working careers living in four different countries. Now my bride of fifty years and I use our retirement to be involved in a mission team that moves around the country building and renovating youth camps and churches that can’t afford the cost of the labour involved in much needed renovation or new facilities.

Its just after Christmas, I’m lying on my back on a hard wooden bottom bunk sanding off the underneath of the top bunk with a heavy, rackety orbital sander. Its very noisy in the confined space, I’m creating dust that would rival a sandstorm in the Sahara desert, its hot and sweaty work and my arms feel as if they are about to fall off. And its no consolation that I have completed eight of these bunks – because there’s another forty to go. To relieve the tedium of the job I start to pray. I don’t do that often on these jobs because, being a man, multitasking doesn’t come naturally, and the intellectual effort required to properly execute my building tasks usually precludes the ability to think of anything else – let alone converse with my saviour God.

But this sanding task, as well as being interminably tiring and dirty, is incredibly mindless. So prayer is a welcome parallel pastime. Most of my prayers start with thanks. I have a great deal to thank God for, this day, my life, my salvation. I start to think about the job I’m doing – can I really thank Him for this tiring discomfort? And then I’m reminded of my reluctant sacrifice of the best red fire engine in the world to some orphan that I would never even know.

And then I got it.

It is better to give than to receive.

David, Bonnie, Mark, Emerald & Val.

David, Bonnie, Mark, Emerald & Val.

I thought about the tumultuous gaggle of ten year olds on a school camp who would use this freshly painted bunk room in the next week. They would have a ball; the camp is a great amenity; swimming pool, gymnasium, playing fields, great food and excellent facilities. And a passionate, dedicated, caring staff who do all they can to improve and enhance the lives of their young charges. And because of what our team was doing in renovating the bunk rooms, the experience those kids were about to have would be even greater. But even better than that the kids would be totally oblivious to the work that was now going on, they wouldn’t give the freshly painted bunks a second thought – but their experience would be so much the better for it. It seemed to exactly define the reason and reward for what we were doing. What a privilege.

It wouldn’t surprise me if Jesus thought along those lines as he suffered, and then died that we might live. Most of us don’t give that a second thought either, but without His sacrifice our lives wouldn’t even be worth living.

It is so very much better to give than to receive.


You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
Acts 20:35 New Living Translation

Written by David Holmes

Father in law of Suz Holmes

Grandad of the girls

Father to Mark Holmes (now residing in Heaven)


Mission Impossible

Whenever I read those two words I instantly start humming the well-known theme music and having visions of Ethan Hunt swinging perilously above the floor of the CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

So what brought this up you may be wondering, well sometimes I feel like things that God has asked me to do are exactly that – Mission Impossible.  In my mind I start making plans that involve trapeze wire and a team of highly trained masterminds to enable me to accomplish the task ahead.

It’s not the first time (nor I dare say will it be the last) that God has given me a mission that is beyond my capabilities or resources.

Welcome to Poland!

Welcome to Poland!

When we travelled to Europe doing missions with the band, The Friendly’s, we never had any money to pay for the airfares and yet after a lot of prayer, faith and hard work raising awareness and support for our mission, the Lord always provided exactly the amount that was needed to pay for our airfares and extra luggage costs that always accompany a touring band.

The years of being caregiver for Mark were pretty much Mission Impossible but as I undertook the everyday tasks involved, God gave me the supernatural strength to keep on going.

2003 The day to day "Mission Impossible" of caring for Mark

2003 The day to day “Mission Impossible” of caring for Mark

There are many days when raising my daughters feels like Mission Impossible, but the bible says God gives wisdom to those who ask* making yet another assignment possible.

So you might be wondering what my ‘mission’ that seems impossible is at the moment, well it’s getting my book finished.  It was all very well and good writing it, but now we have to tidy it up, get a copy editor to fix it up, find a title that works and work on the cover.  Not to mention figuring our way around all the computer stuff involved in publishing an Ebook.  (Don’t even know what that is called so we will call it computer stuff for today.)

But seeing as I have been in this spot before, I do have some idea what I need to do, and that is: do the possible so that our incredible amazing God can do the impossible.

I love the story of Peter’s escape from prison found in the Bible in the book of Acts chapter 12.  Peter, a disciple of Jesus although by the extra security around him you would have thought he was some dangerous criminal, was in chains sound asleep awaiting trial the next morning for preaching about the resurrected Jesus.  Like an epic movie scene a bright light appeared in the cell and there stood an angel of the Lord. Apparently the dramatic entrance was not enough to wake Peter so the angel hit him in the side and yelled, “Quick, get up!”  Unbelievably the chains around Peter’s wrist fell off, then the angel instructed Peter to get dressed, put on his sandals, put on his cloak and follow him.  Peter dutifully obeyed thinking he was having an awesome dream and the angel led him out of the cell, passed all the guards, even the two that were beside Peter, through one gate and then another gate right up to the big iron gates that opened to the city.  Peter followed the angel out and then the angel vanished and it says in verse 11, Peter finally came to his senses. “It’s really true!” he said. “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod…”

Its all about taking the possible stepsNow what I always noticed about this amazing story was that Peter had to do the possible; he had to get up, put on his shoes, clothes and cloak and he had to move his legs and walk.  The angel did not miraculously dress him or carry him but the angel of the Lord did do the impossible.  He was Peter’s very own highly trained team because he appeared in a locked and secure prison, made the chains around Peters wrist fall off (didn’t even have to pick the lock – so cool!) and somehow blinded all the guards and then opened all the impenetrable gates.

Peter did the possible and the angel of the Lord did the impossible.

This is the plan for everything that Jesus puts on our hearts and gives us the passion to do.  We must do the possible – so I must write the book! God has already provided a small team of incredible and talented people to aid this mission and between us we must organise and figure out scary websites so that God can do the impossible by guiding us through the websites and giving us the creativity and inspiration we need and ultimately use the book to encourage others in their own journey through life and the trials that can come.

When we were organising the band’s tours and missions trips we had to do the possible of praying, believing in faith, raising support, booking plane tickets and packing, and then God did the impossible and paid the airfares.

1992 -Leaving for Amsterdam after watching God do the impossible and make a way for us to serve him with Youth With A Mission

1992 -Leaving for Amsterdam after watching God do the impossible and make a way for us to serve him with Youth With A Mission

It’s all about taking the possible steps.

So this is to encourage all you wonderful folk out there to do the possible to reach your dreams and desires that God has put on your heart, have the faith to believe, and then sit back and watch God do the impossible.

As the voice from the little box that will self-destruct in five seconds says, “your mission should you choose to accept it….”

Choose to accept it!!! It is truly an exciting way to live!!!

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible,
but with God all things are possible.”
Matthew 19:26 New International Version (NIV)
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen;
it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.
Hebrews 11:1 New Living Translation (NLT)
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you.
James 1:5 New Living Translation (NLT)