More Blessed To Give

More Blessed.jpg

One of the most interesting texts in the Bible is one of the least understood and the least preached.

It is part of a sermon preached by the Apostle Paul to the leaders of the Church at Ephesus – a type of farewell address. God used the Apostle to establish the Church in Ephesus. The Church was planted during Paul’s second missionary journey, circa 52 AD (see Acts 18:19). When the Apostle returned to Ephesus during his third missionary journey (circa AD. 54) he spent three years there (see Acts 19:8-10; Acts 20:31). During this trip the Apostle the Lord used Paul to weed out false teachings that had threatened the Church. The Temple of Diana, the goddess of sexual fertility, was established in Ephesus. In fact, Ephesus was a hotbed of pagan practices. The Apostle spent three years weeding God’s Garden, the Ephesian Church.

About 57 AD. the Apostle – as he was traveling – decided to stop once more in Ephesus. The Apostle knew that this would be the last time he could see his beloved Ephesian Church. He told them:

Acts 20:22-25 … And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. 24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.

Paul didn’t know how bad it was going to be, but it knew he would be imprisoned. He knew this was the last time he would see this precious Church because God had warned him that bonds and afflictions abide me. But Paul wasn’t concerned about his death. He was ready to die. Paul wanted to finish well, and wanted the Church at Ephesus to prosper and grow.

As we run with patience the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1-2) let us keep in mind the goal. We are to finish well for Christ. Do we finish well? No one cheers the quitter, the one who stops mid race. The cheers of Heaven are not for the quitters or the lazy or the fearful or the foolish. The cheers of Heaven are for the faithful, for those who with endurance, looking unto Jesus, they ran their race with patience to the end. That is what brings the trophy.

As Paul ended his sermon to the Church – the last time he would see them face to face – he said these words. Let’s read these words responsively:

Acts 20:25 I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. The Apostle quotes the Lord Jesus Christ, and tells the young Church to remember the words of the Lord Jesus. He was quoting a word that Jesus said that many had heard. Yet here’s what’s interesting. If you look through the Gospels you will NOT find this word anywhere. Neither Matthew, Mark, Luke, nor John record these words from our Lord. This causes many of the commentaries and theological doctors a great deal of concern. Some people have even gone so far as to say that the Apostle Paul mis-spoke, that he quoted something that Jesus never said, and there is error in the Bible. I do not believe this. I believe the Apostle quoted Jesus as saying this because Jesus did indeed say it. The Gospel of John ends with these words:

John 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

The Gospels do not tell us all that Jesus said and did. That great pastor Dr. W.A. Criswell – the Pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas
called this word from Paul
“The Lost Beatitude”.

When Jesus began His ministry the first major sermon He preached was called The Sermon On The Mount. This is a fantastic sermon that is found in Matthew chapters 5-7. What word is used over and over in the introduction of this sermon? See if you can find it.

Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Matthew 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Did you find it? Yes, the word is Blessed. The word Blessed is the Greek

μακάριος makários, (pronounced mak-ar’-ee-os) which means “to be fortunate or well off”. The word is found some fifty times in the New Testament. The word can also mean “to be happy”, and is translated as such in:

1 Peter 3:14 … But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye …

1 Peter 4:14 … If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you …

That word “blessed” means to find inner happiness, to find contentment, to be prospered in a way that brings spiritual joy.

It Is A Blessing To Receive

Now Jesus never said it is not a blessing to receive things. He said:

It is more blessed to give than to receive.

There is greater happiness in giving than there is in receiving, but that isn’t to say that God doesn’t want us to receive. Our Lord Jesus was blessed when He went to Simon the Leper’s home for supper – at Simon’s invitation, mind you. When Jesus came into that man’s home the Bible says:

Matthew 26:6-7 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, 7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat.

As this unnamed woman washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dried them with her hair, people who saw this sat judging. They sat judging this woman. They sat judging Jesus. “If Jesus knew who this woman was, He would not allow her to even touch Him!” (Luke 7:39). … “Why was this ointment wasted? It could have been sold for over 300 denarii (a year’s wages)!” As Jesus sat receiving this blessing He told them all “Let her alone. She has done a beautiful thing to Me. She has anointed My body for burial!” (Mark 14:6-9). He then rebuked Simon,

Luke 7:44-46 … And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped [them] with the hairs of her head. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

Jesus was blessed by what He received from this woman. It is wonderful to receive blessings.

 As a pastor I have received thank you cards for things that I have done for others. That is a blessing. As a father, I am always blessed when my children remember me on Father’s Day. On the wall of my home office is a card that my youngest son brought to me on my birthday one year. I hung it on the wall, and look at it any time I get to feeling blue. On that same birthday my oldest son forgot my birthday. That hurts! Do you know that feeling? Of course, there were times when the shoe was on the other foot, and I forgot my momma and daddy’s birthdays. I wish I had been more diligent now that they are gone to be with the Lord. I really do.

It is wonderful to receive encouragement when you are down. There is nothing wrong with receiving. When we pray, do we not ask God to give to us? Do we not pray as Jesus taught us:

Matthew 6:11-13 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

God told us not to worry about things, but to ask God as our Father for blessing. We should not worry about tomorrow, nor for our sustenance, but we should seek God in prayer. He wants to bless us, and waits to hear our cry. Jesus told us:

Matthew 7:7-11 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Our Heavenly Father loves to give good things to us, so receiving is not evil, and asking is not evil. Even God wants to receive from us. Not stuff, but the love and admiration and respect that He deserves.

The Father wants our full and devoted love! Our Lord Jesus said that the greatest commandment in the Law is:

Matthew 22:37-38 … Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.

What God wants of us is ALL of us. God wants to receive our love, our devotion, our obedience, and our allegiance. We bless God when He receives that from us. So no, it is not wrong to receive.


It is more blessed to give than to receive.

The great Pastor W.A. Criswell told this story:

Over there in Africa, there was a little colored boy – one of those little African natives who came to one of our mission Sunday schools – and he did not have any clothes on. … so the Sunday school teacher said to the little fellow, … “Son, you go home and tell your momma to put some clothes on you. You cannot come to Sunday school without any clothes on.” So the little boy went home and told his momma that he could not come to Sunday school unless he had some clothes on. So the little fellow returned pretty soon and he was so proud, he was so proud with the clothes that he was wearing. Do you know what he had on? He had on a pair of suspenders!”

It is a blessing to receive, but a GREATER blessing to give. I want you to think about another little boy now. This little boy heard that Jesus was coming to town. He was so excited. So the little boy asked his mother is he could go and see Jesus. His mother – like all good mothers – said it was all right for him to go see Jesus, but she wanted him to take lunch with him. Mother pulled out of the cupboard what she had ready – two small fish and five little barley biscuits. She put this meal in a little sack, and the little boy set out to see Jesus. It was a fantastic day. The little boy squirmed and wiggled till he got close to where Jesus was. Sick people were coming to Jesus, and Jesus was healing all that came. People were carrying crippled friends to Jesus. With a touch and a word the lame walked. The blind were given their sight. It was so magnificent! And the crowd kept getting bigger and bigger.

Then it looked like the excitement was going to end. The sun was setting, and the people were hungry. The little boy had forgotten to eat his lunch. His tummy rumbled and made him remember. Suddenly the disciples scattered through the crowd. The little boy heard the adults talking. They were looking for food to feed this crowd.

The little boy had a choice. He could feed his own belly. Or he could give the little bit he had to Jesus. He handed his sack to one of the disciples who took it back to Jesus. The disciples told Jesus:

Matthew 14:17-18 … We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. … {Jesus} said, Bring them hither to me.

The little boy watched Jesus take his lunch out of the bag. Jesus looked up to Heaven and blessed the food. He broke the loaves, and passed them to the disciples, who gave more than enough food to the crowd of over 5000 people. Now let me ask:

Who do you think received the greater blessing that day? The over 5000 people who filled their bellies? The disciples who passed out the food Jesus gave them. Or the little boy who saw his tiny meal transformed into a banquet for thousands?

Do riches bless us? Does receiving stuff make us happy? There was a rich young ruler who came to Jesus and said:

Luke 18:18 … Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

When Jesus told him:

Luke 18:22 … sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.

The Bible tells us that this young man went away sorrowful – not blessed but sorrowful for he was very rich. Compare this young man to another rich man named Zacchaeus, who was very rich (Luke 19:2). Was Zacchaeus happy? Was he blessed? If he was, why did he climb up into a sycamore tree to see Jesus (Luke 19:4). When Jesus went into his home what did Zacchaeus say?

Luke 19:8 … Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

Jesus said that salvation had come to Zacchaeus. Why was this? Because Zacchaeus gave himself to the Lord. He no longer worshiped his stuff, but worshiped the One Who came to die for us all.

Who was happier? The widow who put in all that she had (Mark 12:41-44) or the rich Pharisees who made a show of giving their money. Jesus said the widow with little was better blessed. “They gave out of their wealth, but she gave out of poverty, and put in all she had”. Some would say this is foolish, but God says that this is wisdom.

When We Give Of Ourselves We Are Most Like Jesus

It is more blessed to give than to receive.

There is nothing wrong with receiving – unless all you do is receive. When all you do is receive then you become like the foolish rich man of Luke 12.

Luke 12:15-17 And {Jesus} said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

To “covet” is to be greedy, to be always taking and never giving. When we always take and never give then we are never blessed. As Jesus said, a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. Stuff comes and stuff goes. Bank accounts grow, go to zero, and grow again. There’s no sin in receiving – but to receive and never give leads to misery and sadness and a lost life. This rich man had plenty. He asked himself, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? The answer should have been simple. If God has prospered you, bless someone else. Do not be like the rich man of Luke 16 who clothed himself in fine linen, but never had the time to help poor Lazarus at his doorstep. As Lazarus fought the dogs for every crumb of food, the rich man stuffed his face with the finest food.

There is no happiness nor blessing in all receiving but never giving. As we have been blessed, we need to bless others. The one who is Ebenezer Scrooge is never happy. Let us not be like the rich young ruler, the rich farmer, nor like old Ebenezer. Let us be like Jesus.

2 Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

How did Jesus become poor? He left the splendor of Heaven. He stepped down from His Throne in glory, and lowered Himself to be born a baby in a manger in Bethlehem. Jesus became like us – yet without sin – so that He could give His life for us on Calvary. We who are saved by Grace in Him are to be followers of Christ (Matthew 4:19) and followers of God (Ephesians 5:1). If you belong to Jesus you are to live for Jesus.

Some do not understand this truth. People visit this Church and begin to ask me, “What can YOU do for ME”? That is not the way of Christ. The way of Christ is to give as you have been given to. No, I’m not just talking about money, though money does come into it. But you are to give of yourself. How does the Bible speak to this.

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Live your lives as Christ lived His. He was always giving – even unto His death. He gave Himself a ransom for our souls. Shall we take of Heaven’s Best and give nothing in return? God forbid. God forbid.

The Lord has been so good to me. Shall I with hold my life from Him? “Freely ye have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:8). If you are not saved by faith in Christ then run to His waiting arms today. Receive the greatest gift you will ever receive: salvation by Grace and the adoption into His Family. Once you have received, give. He gave to you, so give to Him. Not just money – but of yourselves. Give to Jesus. You are His people, His Kingdom, His family forever. The heart closed to Jesus will manifest in a closed and stingy hand. But the heart opened to Jesus will give as it has been given. Blessed be the Name of Jesus!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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