If you could give or receive $100,000, which would you do?
Your answer to that question reveals which one – giving or receiving – you believe is more satisfying.
This is not an issue of “choosing the right answer.” If your honest answer is that you would rather receive it, that’s not something to feel guilty about. That’s fine. But it does show where you think you derive more happiness from.
It came as a refreshing surprise when I first read and understood what Jesus meant when he said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). (Blessed means happy, by the way. It doesn’t mean God will bless you more.)
I started to pay more attention to my giving and receiving in my daily life to see which I get more joy from.
Jesus was right. Duh.
This changed my perspective and led to me becoming a more giving person, not because I was making a moral effort to try and be more like Jesus, but simply because of the joy to be found in giving. (Jesus must have been one happy dude after all that giving he did on earth. See Hebrews 1:9)
But this realization was only the beginning.
One day a friend pointed out to me that this applies to God as well. God also enjoys giving more than receiving. It’s his nature, because his love is utterly other focused.
When he shared this with me, I literally fell to the floor at the realization of how much better God is than I thought he was.
All God wants to do is give. Honestly, he’s not interested in our efforts to try and do stuff for him, as if he has needs. Even things like prayer, worship, and even sharing the gospel are not “for God” but for us, for humanity. The Sabbath was created for man, not man for the Sabbath. Same with everything else. In fact, God was so addicted to giving that he couldn’t help himself and went ahead and gave us everything! He filled us with the fullness of himself. He blessed us with every spiritual blessing. All things belong to us.
If you’re in doubt and think that you need something more than Jesus, you will be disappointed. Time to quit looking for more and time to start enjoying what’s yours.
Now, switching to a related topic…
Have you ever offered to pay for someone or do something for them, and then be rejected? How did you feel?
I’m pretty sure most people don’t think, “Phew! Didn’t want to have to pay for that one,” or, “Glad I don’t have to do that for them. That was a close call!” Unless someone is offering out of a sense of religious or cultural duty (which I think is rare), people are offering because they desire to give. Whether or not they’ve put it into words like I have here, people realize to one degree or another that they like to give. And so they offer to.
But people also reject offers. Why is this?
(Note: receiving is a good thing. Remember, it is better to give than to receive, implying that receiving is good too.)
Sometimes, it’s cultural. I know this is a huge part of Japan’s culture. Sometimes, people feel shame, thinking that it makes them look bad. Sometimes, people feel guilt, thinking that they aren’t worthy. But all these reasons are complete bogus. In the end, refusing to accept what someone offers to give robs them of their opportunity for joy through giving.
Here’s a similar scenario – someone accepts your offer for you to pay for them, but then they say something like “I’ll pay for you next time.” This mutes the point of paying for them. It’s like trying to get even with them. “You did something for me, and I’ll do something for you. Then we’ll be even. Yay.” All it really does, though, is take away the joy of the giving because, in the end, no one’s giving anything. It’s like me paying you a dollar and then you paying me a dollar. Pointless.
Let giving flow from your heart. Give out of desire, not compulsion or duty or guilt. God likes a cheerful giver, and you will like yourself much more if you decide to only give cheerfully as well.