Every year around Christmas I find myself searching for that mysterious verse in the Bible that says it is better to give than to receive. For some reason, I always forget where to find it. Maybe this is because the verse isn’t in an obvious place, like in the gospels or in one of Paul’s letters.
Rather, it is tucked away near the end of the book of Acts, where – track with me – Luke is quoting Paul who is quoting Jesus:
…You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ -Acts 20:35
What? When did Jesus say that it is more blessed to give than to receive? That quote never shows up in the Sermon on the Mount, or in any of the parables, or anywhere in the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John). The idea is certainly there, but not those exact words.
Where, then, did Paul get it? What was his source? He doesn’t say. All we know is that he attributes the statement to Jesus and therefore, it carries extra weight.
So, this Christmas we are reminded once again that it was Jesus, the ultimate Giver, who said these words:
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Not Abraham Lincoln. Not Ben Franklin. Not Shakespeare. It was Jesus who said that. According to Him, the more you give, the more blessed you are.
To help us put action to Jesus’ words and to summon the giver in each of us, here are 7 low cost/high value gift ideas. You won’t find these on Amazon or Walmart.com, but these will be some of the most valuable gifts given this Christmas:
- Give someone the benefit of the doubt today. Think the best of them until you know differently.
- Look five people in the eyes and tell them you are grateful for them (not just family members).
- Visit someone in a nursing home, shut-in, or incarcerated. Take a small gift if possible.
- Forgive someone who has offended you. On the basis of what Jesus did on the cross, let it go (Ephesians 4:32).
- Give an apology. If you were wrong, say so.
- Give a young person a word of affirmation. Whether they belong to you or not, speak positively about their future.
- Thoughtfully pick someone out and give them some of your TIME. Whether it is for 2 minutes or 2 days, just be with them.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.