We have heard the phrase, “It is better to give than to receive.” It is probably better to note that this finds scriptural validation in Acts 20:35 when the apostle Paul spoke“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” An interesting note this is one of those instances where we have something that Jesus said that was not recorded in the Gospels. Which just adds to the fact that Jesus did and said much more than what was recorded.
Back to our phrase, it really is a blessing to give to people. Francis of Assisi said, “For it is in giving that we receive.” But, why do we keep the blessings from giving to ourselves? There is nothing wrong with giving to those who are not able to give back but why do we rob them of a blessing of not being able to give. I’m not suggesting the idea of being paid back but in paying it forward. Also, for those that only think that giving is money to the poor, there are many more ways to give. Perhaps, in our own personal giving, in our community circles, and church ministries, a deeper understanding of giving is required.
The reality is that we all have something to give. This was Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 12 (specifically in verse 7). No one has every gift, talent, or skill known to man, but we each possess something. There is something each of us can bring to the table. Every person can contribute to a community and many times those who are down on their luck or have fallen so far that it feels impossible to get up really just need somebody to come up beside them to help them value and find their gift and put it to use.
Pastor Damien is from a place in Cincinnati, OH called “Over the Rhine.” Over the Rhine was highest serviced area in the state of Ohio. Pastor Damien took this gift based ministry mentality and through his church led his community to change. The moment that he took this focus in his ministry was when he came across a drunk man by the name of Charles that he tried to invite to church. Charles told him, “I’m a drunk and I won’t go to church.” Pastor Damien constantly tried to invite him. A few months later during a board meeting, in a side conversation about who the pastor had been visiting, he brought up Charles name. One of the deacons said, “Charles used to be one of the best tuck points around until he fell to alcohol and lost everything.” This caught Pastor Damien’s attention. The next day he found Charles and asked him if he could repair the churches bricks and mortar (this is what a tuck point does).
Charles was amazed at this and after some talking on payment he agreed. A few days later on after the church exterior walls had been repaired people were talking about how much nicer the church looked. The next Sunday morning Pastor Damien introduced the congregation to Charles, the one who repaired the walls and Charles couldn’t have looked more proud. Pastor Damien would say, “I couldn’t get Charles the drunk to come to church but I got Charles the tuck point to.” Damien gave Charles value and in turn Charles gave his talents.
It truly is better to give than it is to receive and the best way for us to give is to help others to give. The old saying is, give a man a fish and he will eat for day, but, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a life time. Here are three easy steps to head this direction…
Everybody has some type of gift, talent, or skill. A lot of people have shared with me that they have no gifts and can not do anything. That is simply not true. What is true is that many have not acknowledged what God has already given. No matter how big or how small. Take a look at the man with one talent from Matthew 25:14-29. He did not use what had been given to him because he felt it was to small. So, it was taken from him and given to another. If we don’t acknowledge what we have and use it then we won’t see any growth or change.
For those who have not polished their skills can work to acquire new skills and refinement. For example, this is a place where the church excel with music. New musicians could come and find a place to play. Experienced musicians and singers can take new prodigies under their wing and bring guidance. In the same light, there may young welders in the church that need tips for jobs, help with purchasing equipment, or learning a new technique. The question is how you can help people grow their gifts. One thing we did at our church for the youth was a life skill class before we took them to a Casting Crowns concert. Instead of just feeding them spaghetti we taught how to make them. People around you have gifts. What are you doing to help them discover them and mature them.
Once people have discovered their gifts and have developed them they need a place to use them. If your church has a newly discovered group of skilled laborers could there be a ministry to helping the elderly and hurting fix issues in their houses? What about a group of teens that want to do something. Could they go to the local nursing home and play games with the seniors? Counselors? Could they start a addiction and recovery ministry? They people in your church can do something and should be doing something.
It is more blessed to give then to receive. So give gifts that help others keep on giving.