“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” —Acts 20:35
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Paul attributed these very words to Jesus in Acts 20:35. When Jesus says something, we should pay attention. But paying attention to something we read and hear is quite different from buying into the principle and allowing it to permeate and guide our lives. What we need to truly understand is that Paul’s quoting of Jesus is, in fact, God’s perspective on giving.
God gave everything when He gave His Son to die for us. Through Jesus’ resurrection, we can have eternal life. God does not hold back when He gives. In fact, God gives freely (Romans 6:23) and fully (Luke 12:32); He expects nothing less of us. So, if God wants us to give, what does that look like?
Giving usually starts with the tithe. The tithe is the first 10 percent of our earnings and our resources. Why give the first 10 percent of our resources? Because giving the first 10 percent of what we make is a principle (the principle of firstfruits) that establishes our priorities. We are saying, “God, You are first in all my resources.” In Exodus 34:26, God told the people, “As you harvest your crops, bring the very best of the first harvest to the house of the Lord your God…” Practically speaking, this means giving God 10 percent of every paycheck before we spend that money on anything else.
Faithfully giving our very best—the first of our earnings—opens the door of blessing over our remaining resources. We have heard testimony after testimony declaring God’s blessing on the lives and resources of people who tithe. They have discovered the truth of Malachi 3:10: “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!”
Scripture overwhelmingly supports this principle of sowing and reaping. When we sow our resources into God’s kingdom, we receive a blessing. “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.” (Proverbs 3:9–10). Proverbs 11:24 says, “Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.” And Luke 6:39 adds, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
The act of giving reminds us that God is the supplier of everything and reinforces the value in putting God first.
- What is your biggest motivation for giving?
- Has your view on giving versus receiving changed over the years? Explain.