The most unbelieved beatitude in the Bible is: “It is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35). The giver happier than the getter? Surely some mistake? That goes against all our intuitions and instincts. So let me help you to believe it and act upon it by giving you ten reasons why it is more blessed to give than to receive.
1. Giving obeys God’s command
The Old Testament has way more commands about financial giving – who, when, and how much – than the New Testament. Maybe the New Testament writers just assumed that as God had given far more to us in the New Testament – giving Himself to death – that our giving should follow fairly logically and easily. But, just in case we might miss the link, there are clear New Testament commands also (e.g. 1 Cor. 16:2). As all of God’s commands are given to enhance our lives, obeying this command will increase our happiness.
2. Giving submits to God’s Lordship
Every act of obedience recognizes that there is a higher authority in our lives, that there is a Lord over us who is entitled to honor and respect. Due to our temperament, personality, or circumstances, we may find some commands relatively easy to obey. Our submission is really tested in the areas where our own nature and situation make obedience more difficult. For most of us, money is one of those areas. Our wallet is often the last citadel to fall to God’s rule, and even when it does fall, it gets rebuilt and re-secured again all too quickly. If only we could remember that Divine Lordship is not a threat; rather it’s the place of greatest safety.
3. Giving exhibits God’s heart
God is THE giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). As His image-bearers we are called to copy His giving, to be mini-pictures of His infinitely large heart. The larger our hearts (and the wider our hands), the larger the picture we paint of God’s character. What do people think of God when they think of the way you use your money?
4. Giving illustrates God’s salvation
At the heart of the Gospel is sacrificial self-giving (Jn 3:16). That’s why when the Apostle Paul wanted to encourage the Corinthians to give more, he pointed them to the person and work of Christ. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). Yes, you abound in faith, love, etc., but “see that you abound in this grace also.” When we give sacrificially, painfully, for the benefit of others, we are faintly and on a small-scale preaching the Gospel message.
5. Giving trusts God’s provision
The biggest deterrent to giving is fear, the fear that if I give away too much I won’t have enough for this or that. When we give sacrificially, above and beyond what is comfortable and easy, we are expressing our faith and trust in God to provide for us and our family. This is not an argument for folly, but for faith. Many Christians have discovered the joy of casting their crumbs of bread upon the waters and multiple loaves returning after many days (Eccl. 11:1). It’s such a joy to see God fulfill His promise of provision when we obey Him.
6. Giving widens God’s smile