It Is Better To Give Than To Receive
Thursday night Mike, Mom, Ivey and I went out for my birthday dinner. Before I opened a gift from Mike and the girls I told Mom I had something for her. We all picked on her about getting a gift on my birthday. It was a floral sign that said something like, "so glad you are my mom." I thought it was appropriate to give it to her on my birthday. So before I opened my gift Mike said to wait he wanted to give one from just him. He handed Mom an envelope, Ivey an envelope and me an envelope. He had gotten us all a spa certificate and wanted us to all go together. So then we picked on Mom for racking up (southern for getting a lot) gifts on my birthday!
Today is Mike's birthday and as I reflect on it I am reminded of the gifts that God has given him. One of Mike's gifts is the gift of giving. He is an extremely generous person. Mike was generous when we did not have any money! There were times I was not happy about it but Mike has never had an issue with me wanting to give to God or anyone else. Often times, he will call me out that I need to do more.
God is pleased with our giving because it is a reflection of Him and His generous heart. II Corinthians 9; 6-7, "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." Romans 12:8, "if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. to give with simplicity." I think Paul is telling us if we give, give simply. No strings attached. Nothing expected in return. A gift free and clear!
I do not remember seeing the scripture about giving simply. I have often said if the church wants money they should post the givings and have people listed as patrons, donors and sponsors. Humans like to see their name and get acknowledged for what they "give." This is not what Jesus wants. He counts what we do not show anyone. Matthew 6: 3, "But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,..."
God blesses us so that we can bless others. When we are generous people we are filled with joy and happiness. Jesus said in Luke 6: 36, "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." When we give we will be blessed and God will give us not just what we need but the blessings will overflow! This is when we see that the real gift from God to us is not the gift but the blessing of giving the gift. Remember the words of Jesus in Acts 20: 35, "In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
We are expected to do good and bless others. Hebrews 13: 16, "And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Psalm 112: 5, "Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice."
Proverbs 11: 25, "A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed."
Think how generous God has been and is with us. Who can we show generosity to?