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!

Weekend Preview | A Generous Life – Part 1

By Matt Dawson

Finding JOY in Christmas

Joy is a word that we often hear during this awesome season of celebration and life! Christmas time is a time of Joy for most people. Whether it’s the decorations, the gift exchanges, or simply the gathering together with friends and loved ones – we have many opportunities to experience JOY during the Holidays.

However, sometimes that Joy is only seasonal. The JOY most people experience during the Christmas season has everything to do with the circumstances and external influences of the season. This explains why many people struggle to find that same joy throughout the year without having some external stimuli driving them towards JOY.

I believe that a DEEPER JOY can exist in one’s life. I believe that it can feel like CHRISTMAS ALL YEAR LONG to those who know the secret to experiencing lasting Joy!

What is this secret key that many struggle to find…a generous life!

Generosity is the KEY to a Joy-Filled, Fully Satisfied Life!

Many people who say they are struggling to find joy in their life would tell you that they ARE generous… especially during the Christmas season. I believe them.

However, generosity is not something that we DO, it is something we ARE.

The Christmas season simply gives us all “a taste” of the expression of generosity through time together, gifts exchanged, and love poured out on others. It’s an example of what life could look like if every day were Christmas.

For those who understand generosity – every day IS Christmas! Every day is joy-filled. Regardless of circumstances, every day they experience a fully satisfied life!

Paul reminds us of Jesus words in Acts 20:35 – “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Together over the next few weeks at Journey Church, we are going to be discussing the true meaning of this verse. We will discover that generosity is not simply “giving.” We will share our struggles with how we caught in a crazy reality of worry and stress over money that keeps us from experiencing the TRUE JOY that Jesus has waiting for us.

Together we will see the long-lasting power that Joy can have in our lives when we embrace a generous life, and that every day can be Christmas to those who choose a “Blessed” life!

Join us at 9am and 11am on Sundays at Journey Church this Christmas season. We will also have 2 Christmas Eve Candlelight Services at 5pm and 6:30pm and a 10am Christmas Celebration service on Sunday, Dec. 25th.

Weekend Preview | Stop Attending Church: Part 3 – Giving

By Matt Dawson

Click Here to Subscribe on Spotify

It’s been a great few weeks at Journey Church as we finished our series on Faith and jumped right into our Partnering series called Stop Attending Church. I’m so proud of the way you have responded over the last 2 weeks as we’ve challenged you to step into groups and step up in volunteering at Journey.

Zack wrote a great blog post this past Wednesday (read if here if you missed it) and I love what he wrote in point #3.

“The difference in attending a service & Partnering with Journey lies in the investment that you have there.”

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Message Follow Up | God’s: Part 2 – God’s Provision

By Zack DeBerry

One of the things that keeps us from being faithful stewards is the desire to be in control of everything we have.  This desire to be in control is driven by fear and it reveals that we think we know better than God how to use what we have.

The truth is that God gives us everything we have and calls us to manage it and enjoy it as we bless others.  But the reality is that we struggle to truly believe that God knows better than us how to use what we’ve been given.

In my reading this week I ran across an interesting story that I had never really paid attention to before.  In the Old Testament there is a guy named Naaman that had a disease and was in need of God’s help.  The story is found in 2 Kings 5.

As I read it, I became aware of the fact that God has given me the directions of how to use what I have, but I often think that I know better.

Naaman hears about a guy named Elisha and that his God has the power to heal him.  Naaman immediately got his posse together and headed to meet Elisha and have his need met.  When he arrived Elisha didn’t even come out to meet him, but he sent a servant and told him to go take a bath in the Jordan River.

Naaman had painted a picture in his mind of how this should all go down, and was immediately upset at what actually happened.  Naaman thought he knew better than God how to handle this situation.  2 Kings 5:11-12 give us Naaman’s response:

“11But Naaman got angry and left, saying, €œI was telling myself: He will surely come out, stand and call on the name of Yahweh his God, and will wave his hand over the spot and cure the skin disease. 12Aren’t Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?  So he turned and left in a rage.”

Isn’t this how we think sometimes?

We think we know how a need is going to be met only to see God do something totally different.  If we are truly honest, there are times when we just get plain angry like Naaman did.  We all struggle to truly trust that God knows better than us.

As the story continues Naaman is persuaded to do as God has commanded through Elisha.  Naaman bathes in the Jordan and finds his need is met.  Then we see Naaman get it.  In verse 15 Naaman comes back to Elisha and declares, I know there’s no God in the whole world except in Israel.”

The truth is that everything we have is God’s.

We have to truly believe that His ways are better than our ways.  God has given us everything we have to manage and enjoy, but ultimately to use as we bless others.  The next time you find yourself thinking you know better than God, remember Naaman’s story AND trust that God truly desires to meet your needs according to His plan and His unending resources.