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Is It Really Better to Give than Receive?

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35  

WILL YOU STRETCH TO EXCELLENCE, or shrink into selfishness? I’m referring to generosity versus miserliness, manufacturing rather than consuming, being a giver rather than a taker.  Giving mystifies the uninitiated. First, they think in terms of “their money.” Then, they insist that rascals (i.e. the churches, pastors, missionaries) are out to take it away from them. When they occasionally wonder if they ought to give some of it away, they get an acute case of “I-Need-It-Myself-itus.” In my experience, however, it is when people give, and then stretch to give a little bit more, that they break into an awesome realm of faith. It is the financial version of sowing and reaping, asking and receiving, and suffering the pain to get the gain. In fact, so many good things arise out of a giving spirit that I am convinced that it is a major requirement of discipleship. 

Missions giving supplies an apt illustration.  Poor, remote believers worship in buildings givers bought, study in Bible schools givers established and use literature givers furnished. Dedicated missionaries that givers support preach the gospel. I have personally been showered with thanks by many national preachers and missionaries, humbly grateful for the givers. In the Philippines, Korea, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Jamaica, Brazil, France, Holland, Germany, Italy, Chili and Greece, I have witnessed the awesome results of giving to worldwide missions.  Many believers and churches renew their commitments annually to send the gospel to the regions beyond. I have never regretted giving even one dollar to this cause. When any individual or church gives to a cause bigger than themselves, it stretches into spiritual growth. On the other hand, when a church shuts down its giving impulse, it stagnates into selfishness and barrenness. The following motives form the basis of giving: 

  • Give cheerfully. It’s a spirit God loves.
  • Give purposefully. It means you build it into your budget.
  • Give generously. It’s good “generousity therapy.”
  • Give compassionately. It turns hard hearts soft.
  • Give regularly. It’s a wonderful habit.
  • Give responsively. It keeps you open to needs.
  • Give sacrificially. It exalts the soul.

Giving captures the functional essence of Christianity. “For God so loved the world that he gave …” Two powerful ideas form this premise: the conviction that giving is right and the expectation of spiritual growth.  It is a two-way street.  Giving not only benefits the beneficiary, it profoundly effects the giver. Add that to the unprecedented need of missions—both home and abroad—and we have a compelling mandate to stretch to excellence.

I once complained to an elder about the perennial requests I received from those I called “beggars.”  He corrected me with one question.  “Would you rather ask or be asked?” I want to always be a source, a supplier.  That’s why it is more blessed to give than to receive. 

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