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More Blessed to Give? You Bet!

When Paul was giving advice to the leaders in Ephesus, he added this well-known comment that was originally from the lips of Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). I know that we often quote that verse. But really? Is it? Tell that to a kid on his birthday! Or to a worker on payday! I have thought of this verse several times in the last couple of months. Rebecca (my wife of 43 years last week) mentioned this passage to me in our conversation at dinner as well. So I decided to do a deep study on the passage. Here is what I discovered.

There is nothing magical about the Greek verbs or context of this passage. It’s just the clearly spoken comparison of “more than” when we give something vs. when we receive something. However, the look of joy on the faces of those very poor people in our village when we pile out of the taxi with food and provisions makes me wonder about the scale. Is it more blessed to give? Of course we love doing this, and our joy is just overflowing. But ‘more?’ Look at this lady! They all are like this. So grateful and so happy.

For the last several weeks a couple of taxi drivers have stopped me when I’m walking or riding my bike to ask me about certain people that we helped. “How are they doing?” “How is the little boy?” “How is that sad mother that you helped?” I had no idea they were paying any attention to what we were doing when we hired them to take us.

I have since learned the names of these taxi drivers and we are becoming good friends. From their seats, they experienced the ‘joy of giving’ through our going into the poorer parts of town and it has impacted them as well. They will even stop me while taking a fare to their destination just to ask about one of the people we have helped. I am right now realizing that the scale is definitely tipped in favor of the 'giving.' If I simply received gifts and did not give gifts, how much impact would that make in the world? How would it impact anyone else but me the receiver?

Jesus was given gold, frankincense, and myrrh, a very expensive foot washing, and a borrowed tomb. Jesus was the recipient of gifts. But Jesus GAVE Himself “as a ransom for many.” THIS is the most important aspect of this principle. That GIFT has changed everything! It IS more blessed to give than to receive! When we give we multiply His example and message by doing so. We are blessed also, but that is just a side note. Giving radiates the gospel in real time. That IS much more. No contest – giving is better!

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