3 Reasons Why Giving is Better than Receiving
The holiday season is upon us once again. With Thanksgiving approaching quickly, this is a time that many people reflect on what they’re thankful for. It’s also a time when consumers hone in on their holiday shopping lists so that they can give that special someone a gift that will hopefully make them happy.
It’s so common for us to think about all that we can get from others, but what about the opposite end of the spectrum? How does giving affect us as individuals and society as a whole? During this season, I would like for us to pause and consider three reasons why giving is better than receiving.
Reason #1 - Because our Lord Said So
In Acts 20:17-35, we read about the apostle Paul’s visit to the church at Ephesus where he spoke to the elders. In verse 35, he wrote,
“I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (NKJV).
Even though we do not find those words by Jesus recorded in the gospels, it’s important to remember that everything our Lord said and did during His stay on earth has not been revealed to us (John 21:25). We can believe that Jesus said giving is better than receiving mainly because he SHOWED it. Our Lord gave the gift of healing (Matt. 9:1-8; Luke 9:37-42; John 9:1-7), the gift of hope (Matt. 10:32; Luke 11:9-13; Rev. 3:20,21) and most importantly, the gift of salvation (John 3:16; 6:46,47,51,58; Rom. 6:23).
Jesus left us with a great example on what it means to give—He offered Himself for the whole world so that we can live through Him (Gal. 2:20)! We don’t have the miraculous ability to give healing power to others like He did (1 Cor. 13:8-10), but the principal still remains. If you have the power to give someone something they are in need of then you should do so as our Lord instructed.
Reason #2 - Because of the Golden Rule
The “golden rule” states that we should do unto others as we would have them do to us. Essentially, we should treat others the way we want to be treated. Did you know that this is a Biblical concept? During His earthly ministry, Jesus stated,
“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12, NKJV).
When you’re afforded the chance to give, do you think about how your gift might impact others? Do you put yourself in their shoes? When you encounter someone who has really fallen on hard times and they are seeking any type of help, do you think about what you would want them to do for you if the roles were reversed?
I believe it’s so powerful that we keep the golden rule in mind when we are faced with the choice of giving. The empathy factor comes into play whenever we are able to do that. The church at Philippi is a wonderful example of this. Paul commended them for their abundant generosity and he was able to further the cause of the kingdom because of their liberality (Phi. 4:15,16). We would do well to remember the golden rule when we are faced with the opportunity to give to others.
Reason #3 - Because Society Gets a Morale Boost
When communities come together to take care of the needs of others, they benefit greatly from their members’ generous behavior. The giving could be in the form of charity, volunteering one’s time, or sending food. We see this played out among the many Jews who converted to Christianity on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:5-11; 36-41).
Overtime, the new community of believers took care of one another by “selling their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need” (Acts 2:45, NKJV). It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this information was recorded very early in the book of Acts. I believe God wants us to know very early on that His people have a duty to look after each other. It also can’t be overstated that giving is a fundamental part of Christianity!
According to a 2008 study by Harvard Business School professor, Michael Norton, giving money to others helps lift our happiness more than spending on ourselves. When communities pledge to look out for the interests of others, the good vibes tend to catch on (Phil. 2:4). Countless people have rallied together to help their neighbors when tragedy has struck their community via bad weather events, terror attacks, epidemics, etc. Societies truly get a morale boost when men, women, and children are able to positively impact others’ lives by giving.
During this holiday season—and every season—I urge you to focus on the benefits of giving. There is nothing wrong at all with receiving things from others. But, in my humble opinion, it’s far better to give than to receive. The wise proverb writer eloquently stated,
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25, NIV).
Those who are generous to others will find themselves to be prosperous and refreshed by the hand of God. So, dear reader, I hope you will find time to give a little, whether it be your time or your money, to those who need it. Just watch how God blesses you in return!