Happiness in Giving – Part 2: Find Fulfillment
“… remembering the words that the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.’” (Acts 20:35b GNT)
The apostle Paul told the Ephesian elders that as believers we have to work hard in order to help the weak, remembering Jesus’ words that there is more happiness in giving than in receiving. This was evidently a well-known saying of the Lord’s in Paul’s day. This matter of happiness in giving far transcends money, however. For the weak to be helped, we have to take something that belongs to us and transfer it to the person in need. It could be time, effort, a word of wisdom, money, love. That’s the only way we can help the weak. And when we do that, we find that there’s more joy than when something is coming back to us.
There is probably some resistance as some read these words today, because the world teaches the exact opposite. The world says you’re a fool if you give away what you have. But Jesus’ religion is the opposite. He says there is happiness when you give. No wonder many Christians go around with no sense of fulfillment and no joy. They’ve isolated themselves in a two by four compartment, and instead of living a life of giving to others, they think that life is about getting. Then they say, “Pray for me; I want more joy.” But if someone’s life is nothing but taking in and never having something of their own going out to someone else, we would have to violate Scripture to tell that person that they will be happy living that way—with life centered around them, their needs, their family’s needs. Why would God trust me with more joy and blessing if they are only for me?
It takes growth and maturity, and often pain, to learn that in life you own only the things you give away, because all our material things will stay behind when we go home to be with the Lord; but what we have blessed others with, will have eternal value. May God mature us so we’ll have liberality in our giving, realizing that it’s more than just giving money. It’s asking someone, “How are you doing? May I give you a lift to church or arrange for someone to pick you up?” It’s providing a word of encouragement or spending some time with a homebound person. It’s visiting a brother or sister in Christ who is sick. It’s giving ourselves away, just as our Lord did so that the debt of our sin would be paid and we would have eternal life. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can seek the joy and happiness and blessing of being a giver today.
To be continued…