Acts 20:35, “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.’”
Lately I’ve been meditating on the phrase “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” I’ve typically heard it used for the application of financial giving. And truly the principle applies there.
But what if we broadened it a little and brought it home to the daily issues of life? As pastors’ wives, we pour out constantly. We are always giving something to someone somewhere at sometime. And we can easily become depleted in so doing.
We can also very easily notice that we give more than we receive….and be hurt by it.
I’ve been thinking about our perspective, because I think that in our minds there is often a stark contrast in the “amount” of giving we do in ministry compared to the “amount” of receiving. When it comes to certain areas of life, it can be hard to really believe that it is more blessed to give than to receive. And whether or not we are fully aware of it, we tend to begin to disbelieve that it truly is more blessed to give.
I’m not talking about material things, or even money. I’m talking about things like
Is it really more blessed to give friendship than it is to receive it? When our hearts are painfully lonely and aching to have deep fellowship and camaraderie with others, is it really more blessed to give it out than to be enjoying it ourselves? When we long for a mentor, is it really more blessed to mentor others than to be mentored ourselves? When we wish someone would reach out to us, is it really more blessed to be the one who reaches out (again)? Is it really more blessed to have no one reach back?
Is it really more blessed to give time to people and projects when it seems like our best efforts are thwarted or wasted after all? Is it really more blessed to give time to the weak, the hurting, the person who demands too much of our time? Is it really more blessed to give so much time to others when it seems that in return no one has time for us? It is really more blessed for our husbands to be on call all of the time?
Is it really more blessed to give prayer than it is to receive it? When we long for someone to come alongside and pray with us and for us, is it really more blessed to come alongside the other person and pray with them? When we desire the text or email that says “I’m praying for you!” is it really more blessed to be the one who prays for someone else and lets them know that you did?
When we’re absorbing pain than we think we can take in life and ministry, is it really more blessed to give kindness than to receive it? When our hearts are raw from criticism and attack- when our hearts so badly need a gentle touch, is it really more blessed to be the one who continues to extend kindness? When our own hearts are breaking, is it really more blessed to soothe the heart of another?
When we’re tired and just want to be alone, is it really more blessed to open up our heart and home through hospitality? When the budget is tight and the food supply is low, is it really more blessed to have that family over? When our own resources are scarce so that sharing seems like it will hurt our ability to provide for our own, is it really more blessed to make that sacrifice?
When we know it’s a false accusation, when we know we haven’t been dealt with in truth, when we want to be quick to come to a conclusion and slow to give grace….is it really more blessed to give the benefit of the doubt? Is it really more blessed to not defend ourselves, but instead give place for God to defend us as He’s promised He will? Is it really more blessed to find out how desperately weak and helpless and needy of grace I am, just so I can receive it from God to give to others?
When the world is cold and hearts are unreceptive, is it really more blessed to put ourselves out there again to share an offensive message? When we are made fools for the sake of the Gospel, is it really more blessed to keep giving it…than to just keep the joy of it in our hearts and revel in our own eternal security?
IS IT REALLY?
I’m not challenging the truth of this Scripture verse, but rather our belief of it.
Based on my own experiences as a pastor’s wife, and the hundreds of emails I receive from other pastors’ wives, I know that this is a silent wrestle of unhealthy thought processes that often goes unchecked and even undetected in our hearts and minds. We can get caught up in self pity and not even realize how “far from biblical” our thoughts have become.
I’m not going to wrap this article up with any earth shattering solutions or even more Scripture. I just want to leave you with a simple challenge:
Analyze your thought processes. Really think about what you believe about this principle. Ask God to show you clearly where your hurts and fears and disappointments and offenses have led you, and to align your heart with His. Ask Him to restore your joy, to root a deep belief in you that it truly IS more blessed to give….in every way.
A Kindred Spirit
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