“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 20:25.
Imagine for a second putting a group of people in a room and asking them to debate whether it is truly better to give than to receive. It would be a spirited debate. One group may well suggest that regardless of income, studies show that those who spent money on others reported greater happiness, while those who spent more on themselves did not. The other side would probably look confused and say, “the giver is happier than the getter…I don’t buy it. Surely some mistake. That goes against all our intuitions and instincts.”
It is more blessed to give than to receive when we have the option of doing either. That is because God’s ultimate goal for all of us is that we be saved and then become increasingly more like Jesus. Giving should be a delight when we realize that in giving we are acting like Jesus. One of the things that we strive for in the Christian life is to be more like Jesus. We love the Lord Jesus Christ, we see His grace at work in our lives, we see areas where we’re growing — but we also see those areas where we fall short of being like Jesus. Those areas will always exist, but when we give, we are following His example. We get to emulate the Lord Jesus Christ. We get to act like Jesus. Jesus gave the greatest gift that’s ever been given: Himself.
Paul reminds us of that in 2 Corinthians 8:9: “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” When you give, you get to act like Jesus. Don’t take that for granted. I pray that we never underestimate the blessing of that, being able to be like the Savior through sacrificial giving. Because He who had everything gave everything, that we who had nothing might share everything with Him.
Giving in a right spirit is an act of worship. It is rendering Him a tribute of praise. It is saying. “You gave me everything and here is a small expression of my gratitude and praise for all your good gifts. It’s only a token, a sample of what I really feel, but you know the heart that lies behind it.” As David said: “What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me?” (Psalms 116:12).
- Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Agree or disagree and why?
- Do you believe that giving yourself to God is the most important step in learning to become more generous? Why or why not?
- List some of the available time, talents, treasure, and things that God has given you. In what way could you give more in those areas?
- What is the greatest benefit or insight you have gained from this week’s message?