It’s Better to Give than To Receive…Really?

By Matt Dawson


Jesus said (Acts 20:35) that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

I remember hearing this as a kid and not only disagreeing with the statement, but I struggled to understand WHY anyone would fall for such nonsense.

You might experience some “good feels” when giving a gift, but the reality is that most of us ENJOY the receiving of gifts just a bit more!

As a follow up to this idea we talked about Sunday, I really want to stress the fundamental difference between a lifestyle of giving versus the transaction of a gift.

When Jesus talked about giving of oneself, he would often use the same greek word used in John 3:16 (For God so loved the world that he GAVE…). Translated best it means “he did not reserve for himself.” The base understanding is that when we give, it’s a sacrifice because we could always just reserve it for ourselves – but instead we GIVE it to someone else.

Paul uses this same word several times in the latter part of Acts 20 as he expressed the “giving of his life” and the “example that He gave” to the church as an imitator of Christ. Giving is simply God’s nature and therefore a life of giving is a life imitating God.

Don’t miss this important distinction about this set of verses. Paul is describing a lifestyle of GIVING that was given to us by Jesus Christ.

TO GIVE is a selfless act of not reserving for oneself.
A GIFT is a transaction based on the value of what is being exchanged.

When we use the statement “It is better to give than to receive” and we are referring to a GIFT, then we only have the value of the gift to dictate our joy. If I give you a sandwich, I might feel good….but it’s just a sandwich. If I give you a car – there would be a significant increase in emotion because the gift is of such a high value.

But the joy of giving a gift wears off quickly. The experience of a gift exchange is short-lived (as we all experience around December 29th).

When we understand the context of this verse in Acts as a LIFE OF GIVING OUR LIVES – we see that the JOY we experience from giving has almost NOTHING to do with the value of a gift. It has EVERYTHING to do with the JOY that God is giving us as we are imitators of HIM!

The more I function and live like Jesus, the more Joy and Satisfaction I experience from Jesus in my life!

We mentioned in this series that Generosity is the Key to joy-filled, fully satisfied life! True JOY is not defined by the value of the gift that you are giving, but by the selfless act of the giver wanting to be more like Jesus.

So this Christmas season, don’t allow that verse (It’s more blessed to give than to receive) to run through your mind as you shop for presents and attribute it to a gift exchange. Allow yourself to start experiencing the JOY that comes from a GENEROUS LIFE and give yourself away to those in your circle of family and friends. Give your time, money, talents, and all that God has blessed you with to those in need around you. I PROMISE, regardless of the outcomes, you will begin to experience that self sustaining, joyful satisfaction that can only come as JESUS blesses your heart of Generosity!

What To Do When You Can’t Accept God’s Love

Many times in our lives we face moments of failure and feelings of inadequacy. It is in these moments that we often feel unworthy of love and forgiveness, especially God’s forgiveness. We will often wear the cloak of shame and guilt in our lives. When we do this it is very unhealthy for us spiritually and emotionally.

One of my many favorite passages in the scriptures is Mark 12:30,31.
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

A key, yet often overlooked, component in this verse is “love yourself.” If you ever find that it is hard to receive the love or forgiveness of God (or others) it is often due to the manner in which you view yourself. We are often our own worst enemies. It is easy to criticize ourselves because we know our own shortfalls. We know our attitude, our efforts, our sins, our behavior, we know ourselves better than anyone else. We see our blemishes and our flaws.

Because of this knowledge, for some of us, loving ourselves and receiving love can be exceedingly difficult.

There are far too many scriptures to reference, but it is imperative that you know that God accepts you as you are. He has promised us His love regardless of our behavior, and He even promises to love us when our faith is weak. His love for us is amazing and full of grace and mercy. We may think we don’t deserve it and we are right. None of us deserve God’s love, yet He chooses to give it and we must choose to receive it. As Matt has been referencing in his sermons, love is a choice. It is our choice to give it and to receive it.

We are better equipped to love when we learn to receive it ourselves. I encourage you then to try a couple of simple practices when you are feeling “unworthy.”

  1. Simply acknowledge that you are unworthy and thank God for His love in spite of it. We are unworthy that is why love is such a beautiful gift.
  2. Take some time to identify why you are feeling this way. Journal, exercise, meditate, listen to music, figure out the “why” of your feelings and forgive yourself.
  3. Fall in love with who you are in Christ. You are not identified by what you do, you are identified by who you are. You are a forgiven child of the king, a new creation in Christ, you are being made into the likeness of God. Spend some time dwelling upon your position in Christ.
  4. Do the, “Would I say this to someone else?” test. Picture your child, grandchild, or your very best friend, someone you love the very most. Take the exact same words, thoughts, and feelings that you are thinking and feeling about yourself. Imagine that person and then say all those “words and feelings” to that person. Speak to them like you are saying those things about them. Most of us wouldn’t do that. If we wouldn’t say these things about someone else to their face, then we shouldn’t repeat them over and over again to ourselves.

These simple steps are in no way all inclusive or a quick fix. However, by changing the way we think about ourselves and granting ourselves forgiveness, we will be amazed at how this simple little practice helps us to receive the love of God and others in a more authentic manner.

Learning to choose to receive and give love takes time; be patient as God continues to transform you into a reflection of Himself!

Let’s Bless Others- End Of Year!

generous

Journey Church has had a landmark year across the board and that includes financially!  After the ONE initiative, we honestly didn’t know where we would be financially this year. God has been faithful!

I know it might seem odd to start off this letter with such a boastful phrase, but I mean it from a place of gratitude.  God has blessed us and we are so thankful for the work He is doing in and through Journey church.

That’s why this “End of Year” giving letter is not for us!

Of course, we’ve got a ways to go to end our year and meet budget as a church, but I’m confident that folks in our church will continue to give in obedience and generosity through tithes and offerings. I can’t say thank you enough to those who partner financially with our church!

TODAY – I’m asking if you would give “Above and Beyond” a financial gift toHopeLKN’s “Hope for the Holidays” $100,000 Goal to benefit HOPELKN in addition to 3 of our local non-profit partners.  If you’re unaware of the amazing impact these groups are having, I’ve attached the videos we made for them in our “Hope for the Holidays” event at Birkdale Village 2 weeks ago.

Would you consider an “above and beyond” gift TODAY?  We’ve already raised almost $72,000 and we’re only halfway through the month!

If EVERYONE READING THIS LETTER would give a $59 financial gift, we would meet our $100,000 goal and do something that is UNPRECEDENTED in our city! Many of you can give more, so give more.  Some can only give $25 – and that’s okay too.  I’m confident that no matter what you give – it will have a HUGE IMPACT!

YOUR FINANCIAL GIFT will help these organizations continue to bring HOPE to the helpless, the hurting, and the families in LKN. 

You can GIVE ONLINE (Paypal) or write a check to HOPELKN and mail it to: 15711 Brookway Dr. Huntersville, NC 28078.

We’ve been so blessed… Let’s bless others this year as we close out 2015!


Ada Jenkins Video
Hope House Foundation Video

Barium Springs CHA Video
HopeLKN Video