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Why is ‘To Give’ Better Than ‘To Receive’?

Written by Rev. Dr. John Kao

‘To give’ is to give away, which implies the meaning of decrease. ‘To receive’ is to accept, which implies an increase. 
Although I often preach on the message of “To give is better than to receive” (Acts 20:35), but I have never studied it in a systematic way. After giving it much thought, I have found it to be a very helpful biblical teaching.

Firstly, ‘To give is better than to receive’ reflects a grateful heart. We recognize that we have been wonderfully blessed by God, much like an overflowing cup which is filled to the brink. Whether the cup is ‘full’ or ‘empty’ depends on how we look at it. The former reflects gratitude and contentment whereas the latter reflects greed and dissatisfaction. The more we give, the more we’re thankful to God and the more we are contended. Our life is indeed full of goodness and love! (Ps 23:5-6)
Secondly, ‘To give is better than to receive’ is a promise of God. “If you give to others, you will be given a full amount in return. It will be packed down, shaken together, and spilling over into your lap. The way you treat others is the way you will be treated. " (Lk 6:38) [CEV]  When we give, our Lord will increase our capacity to receive more of His blessings  and we can enjoy an abundant life.
Thirdly, ‘To give is better than to receive’ is a natural phenomenon of growth. The more we use our gifts, the more we excel in using our gifts. Let’s look at this analogy. My right arm is stronger than my left arm. When I have to move a heavy load, my left arm says to my right arm, ‘Dear brother, capable people should do more work. Why don’t you take over this job?’ My right arm replies, ‘No problem, I’ll do it.’ Hence my right arm becomes stronger and stronger everyday! This view was echoed by Jesus in the parable of the Talents. The master of the servant said, “Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.” (Mt 25:28-29)

Fourthly, ‘To give is better than to receive’ reflects the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus once said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mk 10:45)  Jesus gave His life for the salvation of mankind, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2:9-11) If only we can follow Christ’s example and live out His life on earth, we will lead an even more blessed and meaningful life!
Finally, ‘To give is better than to receive’ is a reflection of the notion that helping others is the foundation of joy and adds to our blessings. When we see that our giving benefits people, the joy we have is beyond words. Jesus and His disciples often taught their followers to give without the expectation of return. Their hope was that the students could surpass them and do even greater things. (Jn 14:12) The success of their followers became their spring of joy. What a blessed life! What a blessed society!
By God’s grace, I have spent my whole life preaching the message of “To give is better than to receive” and trying to put this biblical truth into practice. Indeed this has brought me great joy and gratification. Praise the Lord! Alleluia!

(Rev. Dr. John Kao is the Founding Pastor of ACEM.)
Last modified on Friday, 03 July 2020 09:14


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