This statement in Acts 20:35 is one of the most interesting verses in the New Testament. It is difficult for people to learn the truth that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” The word “give” denotes the deep self-denial for which Paul was known (Vs. 24). It advocates a counter-worldly attitude (Vss. 33-34). This verse is not about Christmas gifts or contributions on Sunday. It is a statement of Jesus not found in Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. How then did Paul [not one of the original twelve] know that Jesus said it? “All truth” was revealed to him as an apostle (Jn. 16:13).
If life is empty of meaning for you here is the solution. If we ever learn the principle found here life will become full of purpose. Whenever you help someone you always leave with a sense of satisfaction you don’t get any other way. Life at its best involves more than “going to church”; it involves sacrifice and service (Jas. 1:27). There are people all around us who need what we have to give. It may be a visit, a prayer, a note, a card or a call. Giving is much more than the transfer of money and things.
Why is it “more blessed to give then to receive”? Two reasons might be noted. First, there are spiritual benefits to be derived from giving. Liberality in giving makes us more like God (Jn. 3:16; Acts 17:25; Jas. 1:5, 17; 1 Tim. 6:17). It makes us less like the covetous people of this world (Lk. 12:15; Col. 3:5). It enables us to abound in one of the greatest of graces (2 Cor. 8:7). It lends acceptance to our prayers (Lk. 10:1-4).
The Lord’s work requires adequate giving for the support of evangelism, but we live on lower levels if we are obsessed with meeting budgets, padding accounts and raising funds. Paul said to the Corinthians, “I seek not yours, but you” (2 Cor. 12:14). The needs of the Lord’s work are many, but added to that is the spiritual life of the person who gives (Phil. 4:17).
Second, there are material benefits in giving. It can be demonstrated that many of God’s blessings flow into the lives of his own in this life. George Pepperdine once said that all he had left was what he had given away (1 Tim. 6:7). Jesus said that the apostles who made extreme sacrifices for his sake and the gospel’s shall receive “a hundredfold now in this time…and in the age to come, eternal life” (Mk. 10:29-30). Again, the Lord taught “Give and it shall be given unto you” (Lk. 6:38). An analysis of this statement reveals: The principle of returns – “Give and it shall be given unto you”; The proportion of returns – “Good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over” and The place of returns – “Shall men give into your bosom.”
We remember people not for what they receive, but for what they give (2 Cor. 8:3-5). Even those who receive are to give (Matt. 10:8). We honor the Lord for what he gave (1 Tim. 2:5-6; Tit. 2:14). So much did the Lord love the church that he gave himself for it (Acts 20:28).