Spiritual Non-Fiction posted July 3, 2022

This work has reached the exceptional level
What exhilaration to see the gratitude on someone's face

Better To Give Than To Receive


What we say:
“It’s better to give than to receive.”
Why we say it:
There is nothing better than getting that one gift, that one special item you have wanted and yearned for, and even asked for several times. It is the one thing you thought would complete your life, would make your pitiful existence here on earth, so much better. And finally, somebody took notice and took the time and trouble to find that item and give it to you. There is nothing better than that…or is there?

I think there just might be something a little bit more satisfying than receiving that one most cherished gift. What is it? Being the giver of that one cherished gift to someone else. It is such a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment and even elation all wrapped up in one emotion when you can see the gasp of surprise and gratitude written all over the receiver’s face. There is nothing quite as warming.

I've been in the position to give that one special gift on a couple of occasions in my life. It takes study and sincere observation to discover what that item may be. The outcome is always worth whatever effort it took to find it out though. Truly making “it is better to give than to receive,” one of the most accurate phrases any of us may ever utter.

One of my earliest experiences involved my first-born daughter. We were shopping at the local department store, not looking for anything particular, just shopping. She happened to notice a bicycle that she simply fell in love with. She could hardly pull herself away from it. She just had to have it. She just stood there touching it and staring at it, but this was early in my working career, and I just didn't have the money to get a bicycle.

Finally, I told her to follow me and push the bike up to the cashier and we would see how much it cost. She excitedly followed me, bike in tow, all the way to the front of the store. I planned to find out the price then explain to her we just didn’t have that much money right now.

About halfway to the register her eyes started to get watery. About three-quarters of the way tears were running down her face. By the time we were checking out she noticed I didn’t even ask how much the bike cost, I just bought it. I had no choice. One look at her tear-stained and reddened face with such a sorrowful frown clinched it for me. There was no way I could resist. The bills would just have to wait!

Now the tears flowed. She couldn’t even walk any further. Her entire countenance was trembling. The cashier noticed her break-down and handed her a Kleenex. My little girl was shuddering with excitement and glee just knowing that she was going to be riding the bike of her dreams. She proudly rode it out of the store.

Those few seconds of emotion, along with the big hug and kiss my daughter gave me and the thank you upon thank you made it all worth it. I wanted for nothing. I don’t even remember what I bought for myself. All I can remember is it was indeed “better to give than to receive” that day.

On another occasion, I gave my wife a Christmas gift that I don’t think she will ever forget. This was the Christmas of 2003; we had been married for nine years. We were exceedingly happy and have been ever since and still are and always will be. This Christmas though, the Christmas of 2003, since we had an incredibly good year financially, I decided to make it the “Christmas of the wife.” There were several personal gifts for her but the one that stands out I believe was the quilt.

Her Grandmother had started making a quilt for her some years earlier but never had the opportunity to finish it. She got sick and just could not do it anymore. Then she passed away. So, my wife had this half-finished quilt she was carrying around wherever we moved. She kept it stored and protected with the intent to finish it one day. Well, that opportunity never came so she still had that half-finished quilt, in her hope chest, from her grandmother from years ago.

My mother was an accomplished quilter and had made well over 300 quilts. We asked her if she could finish it for us. She tried, but her eyes were so bad, at 90 years old, that she just couldn’t work with the fine pattern of the material any longer. She reluctantly gave the quilt back to us saying she just couldn’t do it. We hung onto it a while longer, hoping for that one lucky break; it never came.

This year (2003) I was determined to make her dream come true. I snuck the quilt out from the hope chest and took it to a local quilting shop. The shop made quilts, had quilting classes, and sold quilting supplies; homemade quilts was their business. I pleaded with them to make the quilt complete, and they readily accepted the challenge. Within a few days I had a completely finished quilt. It was beautiful. I won’t even mention how much it cost to have this miracle performed in the brief period I gave them, but it was worth it.

That Christmas morning, I had my wife open that special box last, after she had opened everything else and after everyone else had opened their gifts. That one look, her eyes, her gasp, and yes, her rare tears were the best gift I could ever have received. Once again I had conceptual validation that indeed it is “better to give than to receive.”

I have many other examples in my life as I am certain you do. It would do us all good to remember those moments every now and then, just to remind us how important other people are in our lives.
What the Bible says:
KJV: “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring 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.” (Acts 20:35)
NIV: “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said; it is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
Why the Bible says it:
Paul visited many different villages on his voyages through the middle East and Asia. Luke a disciple of Jesus, came right along with him. In most cases Paul would stop for a few days and preach the word of God to the locals. He couldn’t stay long however because in every city there were people waiting to imprison or criticize him. (Acts 20:23) He also knew that his travels were ending, and he felt he still had much to do.

Paul was traveling to Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost. To put it simply, Pentecost was the celebration of the first day of the wheat harvest. Pentecost is also referred to as the Feast of Harvest or the Feast of weeks because it comes 50 days (7 weeks) after the first day of the barley harvest, Celebration of First Fruits.                    (22)

Pentecost is also recognized as being the day that Jesus promises his disciples another counselor. He is speaking about his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension, when he leaves to be with his Father. He promises to not leave them alone. (John 14: 26-18). Jesus breathes on the disciples to give them the Holy Spirit (John 20: 19-23).     (23)

Paul wanted to make sure he would arrive in time for Pentecost so rather than make a stop in the village of Ephesus he stopped in Miletus and sent for the elders of Ephesus to meet him there. Miletus is about 50 miles, by land, from Ephesus. At this time Paul is giving his farewell speech and encouragement to the elders of Ephesus. He describes what he has personally been through during his evangelical career and how he has testified to all; Jews and Gentiles, alike. (24)

Paul wants to encourage the elders of Ephesus to give and to help the unfortunate. He closes his remarks, just before his departing prayer, with; “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said; ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

So, why is it better to give than to receive?

1st God is a giving entity. He gives us life, he gives us happiness, he answers our prayers and continues to give. By giving we become more God-like.
2nd God assures us he will repay our generosity with his generosity. When we give, we get. When I tithe as directed by the Bible (a tenth of my increase, Deuteronomy 14:22), I actually gain. Because God is a giving and generous God.
3rd In giving we uplift the spirits of someone else. That person gets to experience the joy and exhilaration of receiving. Their reaction will affect those around them and make everyone feel better.
4th In giving we are sharing the blessings God has bestowed upon us. We are actually becoming an example for others to see and admire.

Yes, it really is wonderful to get that one sought-after item you have been wanting for so long. We stay up so late on Christmas Eve, just in anticipation. It may be under the tree right now but what a joy it can be to be on the giving end instead. My personal experience has shown me that it is indeed “more blessed to give than to receive.”
22 christianity.com/Jesus/early-church-history/Pentecost                                                     
23 beliefnet.com/faiths/religious-observances/                                                                   
24 bibleatlas.org/miletus.htm                                                                                                 


Story of the Month contest entry



I have always been overly excited about Christmas in particular. But mostly because I want to give that special gift to the special people I have singled out. I work hard at making certain I can satisfy their deepest wants, even more than needs. The rewards for me are always worth far more than anything I put into the gift or the search.
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