“Giving and receiving love is the foundation of a life blessed to bless others.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 23, 2022
Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance…I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing… remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’. Acts 20:32-33, 35
Giving and receiving is the rhythm of a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. And the promise of blessing is attached to both…giving results is the bigger blessing, but receiving involves being blessed as well. Next to the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ, love is the greatest gift to give or receive. Both giving love and receiving love are necessary to experience the fullness of Christ’s love and His followers. Some struggle (especially the self-reliant) with receiving, because they fear being a burden or maybe they feel embarrassed, but in God’s ethos, being a receiver means you are being blessed by the Lord and you are allowing another to experience a bigger blessing.
In the Acts passage above, Paul is giving his farewell address to the leaders of the early church. He commits them to God and to the word of His grace, so they can live for God. He goes on to explain how he has modeled a life of generosity, not greed, and then quotes Jesus on the blessing of giving and receiving. In the gospels, Jesus also warns against various types of greed (Luke 12:15). Money is a competitor to our devotion to God and must be given away to free us from its unhealthy control. Money can be an idol, but more accurately it reveals our idols (Tim Keller). Like Paul, we finish well when we have lived a life of generosity as a preventative to greed.
“Then he [Jesus] said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15).
Where are you on the continuum of giving and receiving? Giving may be a very natural expression of your gratitude to God, or you may be cautious in not giving away too much for fear of not having enough. On the other end of the spectrum, receiving may come easy to you, because you understand the joy others receive by you allowing them to bless you, and you are comfortable with the community of other Christ followers loving you well. Consider how the Lord may want to grow you as a giver and a receiver. Blessings are reserved for both!
Begin by becoming a generous receiver of love from God and others. Henri Nouwen speaks to this point, “The question of receiving the love of Christ is really very important. I personally feel more and more that sometimes it is harder for us to fully receive love than to give it. I am more and more convinced that we will find the peace and joy of Christ when we let him truly enter into the deepest places of our heart, especially those places where we are afraid, insecure, and self-rejecting.” Giving and receiving love is the foundation of a life blessed to bless others.
“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back” (Luke 6:38, NLT).
Heavenly Father, I am so grateful for your good gifts in my life. Lead me to give as you have generously given to me, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
Consider how to grow as a giver and a receiver. What does that look like?
Vertical Worship: Blessed
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