“IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE”

People remember those who give than those who receive. We tell others what we received for birthday or anniversary or because of a relationship. The spouse who tells his or her family and friends what their spouse gave them on their birthday. The friend who tells other friends what a friend gave him or her on their birthday.

There are a number of occasions in the bible when something good was done by Jesus and he had to ask them not to tell anyone. Even then, sometimes, the recipient couldn’t keep it to themselves.

The heart of God is to give, the law that regulates creation is based on giving:

The Sun gives each and every day by order from God.
The earth produces food of every sort to feed everything on earth through an interconnected and interdependent process established by God. 
Animals, birds and fishes give themselves for food, clothing and even as pets.

Humans are at their best when they give. Famine and poverty are caused through a lack of giving. The rich nations take the best through slavery, colonization and in recent times through capitalism buttressed by arms, covert intelligence and corruption.

Rich individuals hoard their riches, refusing to share it with the poor in their own country and certainly less so with a foreign country.

God gave at the beginning : a perfect world, the breath of life. Despite sin, rebellion, neglect and rejection God is still giving.

Two thousand years ago “God so loved the world (people) that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life”.

God is still giving: righteousness to cover our sin. “He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”.

God is still healing the sick. “By his stripes we were healed”.

God is still offering salvation: “they that call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved”.

God through the church, the body of Christ, is giving: refuge, hope and love. The greatest gift is love. More people are affected for good by love than by threats of hell and damnation.

Through love we pray that the Holy Spirit convicts and not condemn men of sin, righteousness and judgment. It’s easy to condemn and dismiss; its much harder to love, entreat and wait for change. One plant, another water but it’s God who give the increase.

It’s more blessed to give than to receive because God has designed giving as a means of receiving or in the words of scripture, reaping.

In the midst of a terrible famine in the days of the prophets (1 Kings 17:8-16) the prophet Elijah was sent to a widow who was down to her last meal. Elijah asked for something to eat and from the very meager supply the widow made a small cake and gave it to the prophet thus depleting her supply even further. God miraculously multiplied the little corn meal and oil she had which kept her and her son for the duration of the famine.

Job lost his great wealth and possessions over a truncated period of time. He was left destitute and in great need. In the end God restored more than what he had lost through the many he had given in the past bringing him a gift. (Job 42:10-12).

All it takes for one to become a millionaire is for 1 million people giving you £1.

People who receive are grateful, thankful and sometimes are inspired to give themselves. Recipients are able to eat, have somewhere to live and it helps them get up from their sometimes helpless condition.

A disabled man sat each day outside the temple in Jerusalem and would beg to survive. One day Peter and John passing by the temple on their way to  prayer meeting were prompted by the Holy Spirit to minister to the man. They didn’t have money to give but they gave something more than money. They prayed for him and he was miraculously healed. This man was later found all over the city rejoicing, telling all and sundry, what God had done for him. (Acts 3:1-10).

Because he received, he didn’t have to go back to begging or having to be taken to the streets to suffer the ignominy of begging just to survive.

In a world of great personal fortune and very rich nations, there are still beggars. In the UK we have people in every city and town begging despite being the 5th largest economy in the world. Strewn across its major cities and towns are food banks where more and more people visit to get food to be able to feed their families.

In the US the richest and most powerful nation on earth, the inequality is grotesque.

The recipients in these countries are often recorded as numbers.
We don’t know the name of the man who was healed through Peter and John but their names are forever written and will remain in perpetuity.
The rich fool who stored up his money and didn’t care to help those less fortunate than himself died and may have been given a good send off by his family but no one else remembers his name.

We still speak of William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army because of his giving to the poor and needy. When he died the queue of people wanting to pay their respect to him stretched for miles.

Inside the church building sat an array of people, in particular two women sat next to each other on a pew near the back. One a former street prostitute who had obtained salvation through the ministry of William Booth and the other, Queen Mary, who having heard so much about William Booth wanted to pay her respect also.

In 2002, William Booth was named among the 100 Greatest Britons in a BBC poll.

Finally, Jesus gave his all which culminated in his death on the cross. No one remembers the malefactor that criticized Jesus, berating him for not speaking up for himself.

Jesus died and was placed in a rich man’s tomb and rose from the dead three days later. The critic also died and perhaps was buried but certainly not in rich man’s tomb and has passed into oblivion.

Jesus on the other hand is both Lord and Christ.

“It is more blessed to give than to receive”!

Our platform is the world and our congregation the people.

The Lord’s servant

Lloyd Denny

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