Jesus said in Acts 20:35 that, “it is more blessed to give then receive.” This famous statement from the lips of Jesus is not found where you think. It’s not in Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, it is in the book of Acts. Jesus must have told Paul this during Paul’s three year discipleship program in Arabia.
This statement could be called the forgotten beatitude. A beatitude is a sentence that begins with the words, “Blessed…”
Jesus very frequently spoke in beatitudes. He began his ministry by saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are those who mourn. Blessed are the meek. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness…” (Matthew 5: 1-6 Later he said things like, “Blessed are your eyes because they see.” (Matthew 13:16) And, “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:28) In fact the word ‘blessed’ occurs 42 times in the Gospels.But there is only one time when the phrase “more blessed” occurs. It is more blessed to give than to receive.
I believe the Lord Jesus wants to lay this beatitude on our hearts today. By reading this carefully, we can see that Jesus was really describing two great blessings in life.
He was talking about giving and He was talking about receiving. He did not indicate that one is a curse and the other, a blessing. He indicated that both are blessings but one is a greater blessing than the other. He was comparing two different blessings.
First, there is the blessing of receiving. When you receive your paycheck at the end of the week, there is a blessing for which you are thankful. It enables you to pay your bills. It provides food and clothing and the necessities of life.
When someone remembers you on your birthday with a nice gift, that’s a blessing. When someone does you a kindness, how thankful you should be. It is a blessing to receive.
And think of how much we have received from the hand of God himself. All we have is from Him. All that we are and will be – all is from Him.
Our homes and possessions, our families and friends, our souls and bodies, our hope and future – all is from Him. Forgiveness of sin and eternal life, daily peace. His constant, abiding presence…all is from Him.
There is an old hymn that says,
“Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth; thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide; strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow; blessings – all mine and ten thousand besides!”
John 1:16 says, “from the fullness of His grace, we have all received one blessing after another.”
What could be greater? What could be more wonderful than that? What could possible be ‘more blessed’?
Only one thing…Jesus said, even more than receiving, it is more blessed to give. Or as He put it in Matthew, 10:8, “Freely you have received; freely give.”
Are you a giver or a taker?