Is It Better to Give Than to Receive?
Written by Christi Given | December 22, 2013
PI Girls, as you know, I love reading God’s Word and I will be contributing a couple of articles a month on a “Bible study” topic for you. My prayer is that these pieces will deepen your faith, stir a hunger for more truth and spark an interest in other facets of your relationship with Christ.
In our fallen world and our fast-paced, materialistic culture, it’s easy for the average person to think that getting is better than giving…but is it really? Watching TV, listening to the radio and reading magazines can make you feel like you need the “new best thing”—a gadget, the latest iPhone, etc. Advertisers aim to make you want a better or higher-definition toy, nicer car and so forth. It never seems to be enough in our culture.
On the contrary, Jesus teaches about being a servant, being a giver, humbling ourselves and being content with what we have. (Matt 20:28) Regarding giving, our culture teaches to take, take, take, and do whatever it takes to make it to the top. But the Bible, the Holy Word of God, says otherwise. In fact, it says and teaches the OPPOSITE of what our culture and media communicate.
In the book of Acts, chapter 20, it says,
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” —Acts 20:35
There are so many scriptures about giving, especially about sowing (like sowing or planting seeds) and about reaping. (Galatians 6:7) This not only pertains to sowing into the Kingdom of God spiritually to the church, to people, but also can mean financially sowing. Giving is in God’s nature, and we should strive to do it, too.
Think about it: God sent Jesus to save us from our sins and give us a second chance to redeem our relationship with Him. Not only does this give us an example of what we should do, but the Word tells us that when we give, God will bless us back double and will honor what we sow. Just like a farmer plants seeds, there will be a harvest if we plant something. We don’t give to receive, but because God is so GIVING and generous, He wants to bless His beloved children.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son…” —John 3:16
Why Should You Give? What Does the Bible Say?
1. God commands us to give. I’ve always been taught that we can never out-give God. It’s foolish for us to hold onto resources as if they are ours. God is the giver of every gift, so we ought to give back at least a portion of the blessings that God has given us, right? (James 1:17) God is more than fair. Human nature tells people to be greedy and to hold on to things or money, but God tells us to be generous. (Psalm 37:21) When we don’t obey God’s Word, God tells us that it dishonors Him. This isn’t a matter of HOW much you give or buying your way into heaven—because salvation is only through faith in the cross—but just the fact that we should WANT to give to our local church to help further the gospel for the souls! Why wouldn’t we want to give back after all Jesus has done for us?
“‘I, the Lord, do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ ‘Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me.’ ‘But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ ‘In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me.’” —Malachi 3:6-9
2. It exercises faith. Some people live in fear that they may not “have enough” or perhaps they have a tight budget. Yes, of course you need to save and budget your money and also be wise with what you have been entrusted. When we give, sometimes we take a step of faith. For example, you may feel you don’t have enough to tithe at your local church. The problem is that this is backward thinking—you can’t afford NOT to tithe. The Lord says that this is one area in which we can test Him, especially pertaining to tithing. When we give, God will bless us so much that we won’t even have room to store His blessings.
“‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’” —Malachi 3:10
3. God created us to give. Not only should we give because it’s the right thing to do, because it’s godly and because it’s what God tells us to do, but also because it’s fun to give! I love giving someone a gift or a blessing and seeing his or her face light up with happiness. Giving doesn’t have to be just physical presents or materialistic things. Giving can be a notecard or letter, a special time of prayer with a friend, pouring into other people’s lives and so forth. I believe giving is also refreshing for the soul.
“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” —Proverbs 11:25
God’s Word tells us when we refresh others, we are actually refreshing ourselves. Why? Because that is how God designed us! He didn’t design and create us to only receive or take in…that would be like if you only could breathe in air but never breathe anything back out. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7), and since it’s the holiday season, let us think of others and give!
“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” —2 Corinthians 9:7
Creative Ideas for Gifts and Giving:
- Baking cookies
- Giving a prayer journal to a friend
- Giving a framed picture of you and your best friend to her
- Giving flowers to a neighbor
- Making a phone call to your grandma or grandpa to say you love them and are thinking of them
- Making artwork for a family member
- Buying lunch for a parent or friend
- Volunteering at your local church
- Offering to help clean up after youth group
- Offering to help your mom around the house or after dinner
PI Girls, what are other ways you can give? Tell us about your creative ideas!