Please take a moment to re-read the title of this blog. Thanks. I want to be clear that I am not trying to re-write what Jesus has said. The Apostle Paul has already summed it up: “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
I’m sure we are all at least a little familiar with the saying ‘it’s better to give than to receive.’ Though Jesus is never quoted as saying those exact words, the weight of His teaching makes it clear: Giving is far superior to receiving.
This most certainly rings true is our dealings with other people. The Lord’s instruction is that we always be willing to share our resources, time and talents to help others, seeking no gain for ourselves. The blessing that comes from this obedience is in knowing we are pleasing God Himself. Jesus, the ultimate servant, gave His very life that lost people (like me) could come to accept His forgiveness. I find this truth in Mark 10:45 as Jesus said: “For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Any time we give of ourselves in service to others, we are modeling the lifestyle of the greatest servant ever.
Bottom line: Giving with a right heart with the right intentions is never wrong. So what about the title of this blog? Again, I draw your attention to the first two words; With God. With God, our priorities change. As clear as His word is about giving to others, so it is about receiving from Him. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33). Go to God first, the receiving part will be taken care of.
Jesus spoke those words during a discourse on how we ought not be consumed with worry about the things of this life. He was telling folks then (and now) that if God the Father takes care of the needs of birds and makes the lilies of the field be resplendent in beauty just because He can, He will certainly meet all our needs as well. (Notice we’re talking about needs, not wants).
I believe there is a greater blessing than these when we receive from God. First, we learn to trust Him more. He will do what He promises to do. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6). Ask God to show the way and believe He is with you always as you traverse it.
My wife Betsy often remarks that the longer she walks out her life of faith, the more she realizes how much she needs God. There is such wisdom in this! Living each day with the expressed agenda of knowing God better today than yesterday, she has learned to trust him all the more. Betsy has met no circumstance that God hasn’t provided for or seen her through. The Prophet Isaiah has this to say about how God responds to those who will live this lifestyle: You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3). Trusting in God is fertile ground for faith to grow!
What a thing to receive from God: His perfect peace! I know for myself that I cannot share with anyone what I do not have; hence I must receive God’s peace so that I can give it away. Understand, it comes to me perfect from God, but I have a knack (being human) of diluting it somewhat. That’s o.k. though, I simply have to believe/trust that He gives it. My responsibility is to walk more closely with Him today than yesterday for as I do, more of His perfect peace will leak out of me and into those around me. Don’t worry if this seems a little hard to grasp, for God describes His peace this way: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7) If God says His peace transcends understanding, I’m good with that!
At this point, maybe you are intrigued by the idea of receiving from God. His peace, building faith and trust, sounds like a pretty good idea. But how do I receive it you ask. Once again, the Scriptures provide the answer: “Be still; and know that I am God; (Psalm 46:10a). That sounds simple enough, but for many of us experiencing this truth is much harder. We must first ‘be still.’ This is difficult in our culture; for most of us are either busy doing something full tilt or we are wiped out from that activity.
Here’s a brilliant insight: To be still, we must be still. That means we must quiet our hands, feet and mind so that we can contemplate this God I’m talking about. Let yourself be still by ceasing the crazed pace of life. I know it’s not easy to do because A, we’re used to doing things this way and B, being crazy busy keeps the mind so pre-occupied that it can’t/won’t think about the Almighty and all that that implies.
But if you’ll just try it, I believe you will receive from God some of what He has for you. When you do, I promise you’ll want more. This is the one place where our wants are important, for if we are wanting more of/from God, He will supply it. He’ll do it in ways you can’t imagine or maybe even dream of, but if you want to spend time with Him, He’s got all of it you could ask for!
I’ll sum it all up this way: Prioritize your list by putting God always first on it. When you can consistently do this, many of the other items on your list will melt away, for receiving from God is simply the best thing you can ever get!