Saturday, November 26, 2011

More Blessed

Jesus must have told Paul personally that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Paul wrote that statement as if he had heard it directly. That giving is more blessed that receiving is implied rather than stated in the gospels. It sounds like something the Lord would say, considering how John 3:16 resonates with Christians everywhere. In a nutshell, that verse expresses the thought that God loved the people he created so much that he gave the ultimate gift, His Son, so that we could be brought back into right standing with Him, even though we had made such a mess of handling free choice. So, our understanding is that love results in giving.

Married people know that very well. The old cliché that marriage is not a 50-50 deal but a 90-10 deal rings true in the light of love calling forth giving. If each person in the marital relationship is determined to be on the 90 percent giving end of the relationship, unselfishness results. It’s when we begin to feel that the other is not giving enough that conflicts arise.

“You never pay attention when I talk to you. Do you even know what I just said?”

“Sure, you said you’d like to go to the mall later.”

“See there? No, I said ‘would you like to go for a walk later.’ You never listen to me when I talk. Do you even remember what I told you I got for Aunt Mary for Christmas?”

“Uhhh, a hearing aid?”

“That’s so not funny. You haven’t a clue, have you?”

“Yeah, we’ve got Clue and Scrabble and Monopoly. . .”

“Just shut up.”

“I thought you wanted to talk.” And so it goes when one person in the relationship begins to feel that the other is not giving enough.

Further, if all of us determine to be more interested in what we can give this Christmas than in what we want to receive, we will be happier. And what we give does not necessarily have to be a material thing. I have known families to give handmade coupon books, promising certain favors to family members: this coupon entitles the bearer to receive one carwash, including detailing; this coupon buys clearing the table and washing the dishes (or loading the dishwasher); this coupon buys a Saturday morning donut feast, brought home hot by Dad, etc.

The point is that just as our God saw fit to give his most treasured possession to us, we should also be willing to sacrifice our pride, selfishness or ego for the benefit of others, especially of our own households and especially of the household of faith. For, just as the family is an organism (not an organization), with the father as head (not a boss), so the church is an organism with Jesus as Head. When we as the body hear from our Head that unselfish, sacrificial giving is good, we should do it.

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