Below is an article I wrote for our local newspaper that appeared two weeks ago. The next one will come out this coming Friday.
Early the other morning as I awoke, I felt God whisper to me the following words: "It is better to give than to receive." I knew the scripture God was referring to because I had heard it many times. In fact, it was one I had memorized from numerous sermons I had heard about giving money to the church as well as to missions and other worthy organizations. Then I heard Him speak again: "It is better to give than to receive." So I asked God a question: "What are you saying to me?" God loves it when we talk to Him and when we ask Him about life. He is the expert and loves to share His wisdom. As the mother of three adult children, I love when they ask my opinion, and God over and over tells us to seek Him and His wisdom. He is all about relationship with us.
We all like to receive gifts, and especially those we really need. It is great when we are given a gift of money or a gift certificate. We all love to receive kindness and understanding. It is wonderful when we are forgiven by others when we have done wrong. But Acts 20:35 says, "It is more blessed to give than receive." The word "give" means to bestow, bring forth, commit, deliver, grant, minister, offer, have power, put, adventure. Isn't it interesting that the word "give" means adventure? We have the opportunity for adventure when we give! We receive a greater blessing when we give kindness than when we receive it. We are more blessed when we grant someone forgiveness than when we are forgiven by others. Luke 6:35 says, "But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful . . . forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and it shall be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap." We simply cannot out give God! He will always give us more than we give. When we give what we need the most, it declares out dependance on God and our relaince on Him. When we give, it proves our abundance and that God is our source. We cannot go wrong when we give what we need the most, because it proves our trust. Psalm 84:12 says, ". . .blessed is the man who trusts in you." We are granted a blessing simply by trusting Him.
I am going to be blessed when I give the right thing. Therefore, I am going to be blessed more if I give a person kindness when they are unkind. It is to my benefit to give others understanding than to expect it for myself. This flies in the face of our self-centered world and challenges us to walk a different way than most people. For example, as a young widow, I have faced quite a different world after being married to my high school sweetheart for 30 years. Although there are many widows in our retirement community, and I have great friends, I have yet to find other women who lost their mate in their 40s. It is a coupled world, and all my friends are married, so I have longed for others who have an understanding of my new life. But they just cannot understand because they have not been in my shoes. When I give understanding to them for not understanding my struggles, according to scripture, I am going to receive a blessing from God. Giving understanding puts me at an advantage vs. receiving understanding. My character is expanded also. The key is that we draw from God the things we need in order to bestow them on others. I am learning to look at problems in a different way, because God will help me overcome and become a better woman of God in any problem I face. I am learning to look at what is missing in the situation and what I can give. As a child of God, I always have something to give, and if I feel like I do not, I can always access His grace to help in my time of need. What can you give to a troubled situation today? Join me in the adventure of giving!