Blessed Affluence - A Devotional Reflection on Giving
The following is one in a series of devotionals reprised from Morning Manna, a daily email devotional I wrote from 2000 – 2005. [hr]
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2000
I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’" Acts 20:35 (NKJV)
"It is more blessed to give than to receive." I have heard that my whole life. But when I was a kid I figured it was just another one of those things adults liked to say to get us to do good things. Kind of like when your dad would say, "This is going to hurt me more than it is you," right before a spanking.
Jesus did not get this wrong. He wasn't just spouting pious platitudes. It is true. It is more blessed to give than to receive. If you break the whole thing down, you can see the truth in it.
If you are giving, doesn't that indicate something about how blessed you are? You have to own something in order to give it. I would rather be the one who could afford to give a hundred dollars than the one receiving the gift. Wouldn't you?
Even that is not what Jesus was talking about. He was talking about the joy and the blessings associated with giving. He was talking about the fact that God loves a giver. God blesses givers. Givers are happier people. The most selfish people are also the most miserable. Watch the Biography channel some this week or watch "Behind the Music" on VH1. You won't have to watch long before you begin to see that happiness is not tied to the accumulation of wealth or great accomplishments. Neither is misery. Misery, loneliness, emptiness...these are not respecters of person or class. They are found uptown just like they are downtown. Wherever there is selfishness there is sure to be loneliness, emptiness and misery.
Neither is misery.
Misery, loneliness, emptiness...these are not respecters of person or class. They are found uptown just like they are downtown. Wherever there is selfishness there is sure to be loneliness, emptiness, and misery.
60 Minutes did a piece on Bill Gates and his wife a number of years ago. Mr. Gates has established a charitable organization through which he makes contributions to all kinds of philanthropic causes. He has placed one of his brightest Microsoft stars as the head of the organization (a position that has no salary). They are giving away a billion dollars a year. That is roughly $20 million per week.
Gates said (I paraphrase), "When a person's abilities coincide with society's needs to create the kind of opportunity I have enjoyed, it is his obligation to give back to those who are not so fortunate."
Then Gates wiped away a tear...and I thought, "Lord, you are right! It IS more blessed to give!"
I know! You're no Bill Gates. But if that is your response to this article, you have missed my point entirely. You don't give what you don't have. You give what you have! It doesn't matter if it is the widow's mite or Gates' millions or something between.
Give what you have and who knows how much more God may trust you with in the future?
So, be a blessing...and be blessed.
A Prayer For Today: "Father, I want to have a giving heart. I want to know the spirit of giving. I want to experience the joy of giving. I want to give to others the way you have given to me. In Jesus' name. Amen."