Is It Really More Blessed To Give Than It Is To Receive?

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By on January 1, 2009   /   Leave a comment

Some Christian workers view support raising as a feel-good movie with a happy ending, but others see it more like a horror film—maybe a combination of “The Perfect Storm” and “Jaws!” For them, living on support is like being lost at sea in a tiny lifeboat being ravaged by huge killer waves, about to be thrown overboard any moment. And instead of seeing potential givers as friends and ministry partners, they eye them with fear and suspicion—as if they were circling and blood-thirsty sharks anxious to devour them. Wow. Can you say… “paranoia?”

But for most of us, perception is reality and how we view circumstances and people can make us or break us. Instead of smiling at the future and believing the best in people (rather than the worst!), we can allow pessimism and excuses to thwart our support raising success. “Attitude is everything,” says author Charles Swindoll, adding that just 10% of life is what actually happens to us…and a whopping 90% how we respond to it! So, turn in your Bibles if you would to today’s scripture reading of Acts 20:35 where Paul quotes Jesus:

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Now some skeptics may question the veracity of that verse because there’s no place in the Gospels where the Lord makes this statement. A few cynics might even claim Paul conjured up that quote because he was in the middle of a church building project or budget deficit and needed a proof text for his sermon on tithing! Still others, who absolutely love getting presents on holidays and birthdays, suspect Luke (author of Acts) got confused and surely meant to write “receiving is much better than giving.”

Or maybe this verse is just Jesus once again taking secret pleasure in shocking us with bold proclamations that rearrange the circuits in our puny brains. He delights in switching the price tags—forcing us to grapple with and choose between what the world values and what God does. Of course, the most scientific method to bring resolution to any research question is to “Google it” and see what pops up. Understanding Google is where this generation turns for answers, I typed in “better to give than receive” and it returned an overwhelming 120,000 links, while the phrase “better to receive than give” a measly 982! Proof positive, right? If not, maybe these ponderings will help:

1. God is a giver
To make this point, we need not look any further than Romans 8:32-33: “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?”

2. God made us to be givers
In spite of our depravity, man was made in the image of God, thus possessing portions (or traces) of His character. As a result, I believe our Creator has placed within every human an innate desire to give, but Satan has severely damaged this predisposition by constantly wooing us away from selflessness to selfishness. We may question the true motives of an Oprah or a Bono, but they continue to reach out because they’ve experienced this blessing of giving. Maybe I’m just an eternal optimist, but I propose we give each individual the benefit of the doubt and view everyone as “givers,” seeking to extend to them the opportunity to go beyond themselves and exercise this God-ordained characteristic.

3. Giving produces happiness
My pastor teaches the word blessed means “oh the happiness of” and that Jesus is communicating in this verse that the simple act of giving will produce in any person a joy and satisfaction that receiving never can. If you will commit your life to asking others to give, you’ll be partnering with God to help those around you fulfill their purpose and destiny in life. You’ve been blessed; now pass on the blessings!

Bottom Line: Satan will whisper in your ear, “People are busy. They don’t want to give. Times are tough. Leave them alone. Don’t ask.” Instead listen to Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

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