“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Every once in awhile I take a step back and ask myself, “What the heck are you doing here?” What am I doing? I am working a thankless job in the middle of the worst part of a city that is quite literally in the middle of nowhere. The realization struck me halfway through my first day of teaching as I slowly inhaled and exhaled and scanned across the faces of 30 screaming kindergarteners. “I get nothing out of this deal.” That was the thought that slowly settled into the pit of my stomach. Nothing.
But it struck me then as it does now that people do things for all sorts of crazy reasons. Including myself. The words of Acts 20 strike me now as breathtakingly powerful. “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Is it crazy to do something precisely because you get nothing out of it? Or maybe that’s the whole point. This world has nothing to offer. Then again, it’s always seemed to me that there is no such thing as getting nothing in return. There’s always something. It just depends on what you’re looking for. I am reminded of the promise in Luke 6:38:
” . . . give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
Lord, help me to cling to the truths of these passages during a time in my life when it is so hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Help me to remember that the kingdom I serve is not of this world and that this world truly has nothing to offer me. Lord, as I walk through a season of my life where it feels like I am giving so much, help me to remember that you love a cheerful giver. Giving so often means so much more than money. It means time, energy, labor, tears. Lord, but you make all grace abound so that we might have all sufficiency in all things, at all times. You cause us to abound in every good work and enrich us to be generous in every way. Let me never forget that I serve a faithful God.
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work . . .
“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.”
2 Corinthians 9:6-8, 10-11
from September 8, 2012