Most of us are familiar with the bible verse in Acts 20:35 that says, …”it is more blessed to give than to receive.” It is a text where Paul shares these words of Jesus to encourage us all to help the weak and those in need.
But it’s hard being the one in need, the one who is weak.
It has been another valuable lesson I have learned over the last two years of my life. To be able to give, there must be one who receives. But there are two types of receivers; there are those who take and those who receive. A taker is a parasite, one who is selfish and only watching out for themselves. But a receiver is one who graciously accepts the gifts that are given. I believe that God uses us to be His hands and His feet, asking us to give for Him. He uses others to bless us. And we are asked to graciously and thankfully receive those blessings.
To everything there is a season. And I believe there is a time to receive. A time to admit that you can’t walk alone. That you need help. And know that “God makes everything beautiful in it’s time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Even in the receiving he is teaching valuable lessons.
Our family has been blessed over and over by gifts of dinners, of money, of cleaning… of other’s precious time, so that I may spend the precious hours where I’m feeling good to be with my children. Playing games with them, reading to them, snuggling with them, instead of cooking and cleaning, of stressing about how the bills will get paid. God has made provisions for our every need. And He has used our community of friends and family to bless us.
Just because I am in a season of receiving doesn’t mean that I cannot or should not give. On the contrary, I think those in need should continue to find someone who is even more in need and give to them. A receiver can also, should also, be a giver. They should pay forward the gifts that have been given to them. This doesn’t need to be done right away; sometimes this may take time. If you are weak and in a time of receiving, allow yourself a bit of grace. Watch for opportunities where God allows you the strength and the privilege to give.
I have also learned that there are two kinds of givers. There are those who give because they feel obligated or want others to see their sacrifice. And there are those who feel it is a privilege to be used by God to help. They miraculously make you feel as if you are doing them a favor by accepting their gift. They are thankful for being allowed to be a part of your journey, your story. I believe it is these givers that are the hands and feet of Jesus. I have been able to tell the difference between these two in a big way. I can feel it in their giving.
I know that I have given out of obligation in the past myself. And I pray that God molds me and changes me as a giver so that He will be able to use me and allow me the privilege of being His hands and feet in another’s story.
I also believe it is those givers that are following God’s will that will give until it hurts.
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12:41-44
I want to be that kind of giver. The one that feels it is a privilege to help another, the one who sacrifices and gives until it hurts. Cheerfully. Remembering all the while that it is God who will bless us and take care of all of our needs.
I pray that Jesus will be in our receiving and our giving this holiday season and throughout this upcoming year.