A GREAT BLESSING

by Kevin Rutherford

 

I don’t know too many people that don’t want to be happy.  It is unusual to come across a Christian who doesn’t want to be blessed.  Unfortunately too many Christians want to receive many blessings while giving little in return.  We want God to bless our lives but we don’t give much to Him.  We want to be blessed by others but we don’t want to bless them.  Christians who have this attitude will have difficulty understanding a simple statement our Lord made concerning giving.  Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).”  He ought to know.  No one has given more than He has.  He gave His blood for us (Acts 20:28).

This One who has given so much was impressed by one who gave so little.  She gave little from the standpoint of pure monetary value.  However, she gave much in that she gave all that she had (Mark 12:41-44).  Jesus was so pleased to see such a tremendous sacrifice made by this widow that he brought this to the attention of His disciples.  This example has been brought to our attention also in that it was preserved within the pages of Scripture.  This widow surely trusted God and no doubt understood that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Early Christians understood the great blessing of giving.  They sold their possessions and goods to help their fellow Christians (Acts 2:35).  This giving church in Jerusalem was also a growing church (Acts 2:47).  They were growing because they were preaching, but they were also growing because they were giving.  A greedy church is a dying church.  A generous church will grow when it is also busy teaching.  In fact, so much more teaching can be done when Christians give generously to assist in evangelism and benevolence.  These Christians understood that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Barnabas was a part of the early church that was so generous.  His generous actions are recorded for generations to read.  He sold his land and brought the money from the sale of the land to the apostles (Acts 4:36, 37).  The apostles had given him the name “Barnabas” which means, “Son of Encouragement (Acts 4:36).”  He was a giver and an encourager.  Givers encourage but the greedy discourage.  Barnabas understood “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

The church simply cannot function without generous givers.  No where in the New Testament does God authorize any method of raising finds for the church other than the free-will offering of Christians.  This authorized method is commanded by Paul (1 Corinthians 16:1, 2).  When we assemble on the first day of the week we need to give.  The money that is given can be used for benevolence and it can be used for evangelism.  The poor must be helped (Galatians 2:10), the evangelist must be supported (1 Corinthians 9:9-14), missionaries must be assisted (Philippians 4:10-19), and local evangelism must take place (Acts 8:4).  These works are greatly aided by generous givers.  If we don’t give well the work of the church does not go well.  We must learn, apply, and trust in the principle that states, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Christians should be the most generous givers in the world.  After all, we are the ones who know that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:6-15). We are the ones more than anyone who should be tying to please God.  We cannot please God when we are stingy.  Stingy Christians will face theft failure to be generous in this life when the Day of Judgment comes.  On that day they will not be concerned about money in the bank or possessions.  On the Day of Judgment we will hopelessly whish we had truly come to know that “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

There are many generous brethren in the Lord’s church.  A number within this congregation are that way.  In fact, this is one of the most generous churches I know.  However, we need always to examine ourselves and to improves ourselves (Philippians 3:12-14).  Despite the fact that there are some sacrificial givers in the Lord’s church there are far too many selfish, greedy, and materialistic members.  There are congregations which starve a preacher and his family out when they have the means to give him a living wage.  There are congregations that stash and store vast amounts of money in CD and savings when missionaries are begging for help.  There are congregations that have stifled their own growth potential because they refuse to give as they should. They are cursed for their greed.  They have not learned “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Have you come to appreciate the great blessing in giving?  Do you understand what Jesus meant when He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35)?”