…”remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” Acts 20:35
Do we remember these words? Or, more importantly, do we really believe them? So often, the snares, struggles, and sins we face in our Christian walk are related to unbelief. We have this tendency to disconnect Biblical truths we believe in theory, with how we live functionally. We may have strong convictions about the inerrancy of God’s word and a genuine desire to apply it to our lives, but then temptation strikes and we hear the smooth whispers of the serpent echo in our hearts, Did God really say…
And so begs the question. Do we actually believe it is more blessed to give than to receive? Are we convinced that Jesus was telling the truth, or is our affirmation of His words merely lip service? If we hope to grow in generosity at all, our first step is to address our unbelief. Guilt may help us overcome aspects of greed, and sympathy might compel us to meet others’ needs. But the fastest route to godly repentance and happy obedience is to identify those truths about God that we are disbelieving and cry out, “Lord I believe; help my unbelief!”
As I consider Christ’s words, I am profoundly thankful for how I have repeatedly experienced this principle to be true. He is the most generous giver of all, and His commandments are not burdensome. When Jesus instructs us, it is not only for His glory, it is not only for our neighbors’ good, it is meant to serve our own interests as well.
1. Giving increases our happiness.
Jesus isn’t some buzzkill who wants to make us holy at the expense of our happiness. He is actually out to accomplish both! As we obey Him and grow in living generously towards others, He blesses this pursuit of holiness with greater happiness! That might not sound very spiritual, but it’s true. Even the secular world has discovered the connection between giving and happiness (go ahead, do a quick Google search). How much more can Christians, who have access to the perfectly trustworthy source of Scripture, trust that joy will follow generosity?
3. Giving deepens our love for things that matter.
This is why we can be excited to give! Living generously blesses us! And living generously is something anyone can do, because generosity is not based on a number. Jesus is not an elitist, offering a blessing that can only be seized by the rich. When a wealthy business owner donates thousands of dollars to a charity, or a single mom making minimum wage provides dinner for a homeless man, or a homeless man shares his food with a friend, all of them have practiced generosity. Jesus invites us all to enjoy the blessing of giving.
*If you’re feeling excited to give, here are some organizations I’d wholeheartedly recommend supporting:
Covenant Mercies: serving orphans in Zambia, Ethiopia, and Uganda
Ratanak International: preventing exploitation, protecting the vulnerable, and restoring trafficking survivors in Cambodia
World Relief: serving refugees living in the Middle East and the United States
Women of Hope International: working to bring wholistic transformation to women affected by disability in Sierra Leone