Getting gifts is awesome, but giving them is better

I spent most of the day yesterday doing something I’ve never done before–helping a friend prepare for a Passover meal she’s hosting at her house for more than 20 people.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to participate in a Seder Meal, I seriously recommend it. It’s honestly one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. I love how it connects the Old Testament to the New Testament.

For years and years, my friend has held a Seder at her home, but because I was working, I couldn’t help get everything ready. Well this year, thanks to my new working situation, I was free to help all day yesterday and all day today too! And, let me tell you, if you think getting a Seder Meal together sounds easy, you’re wrong. Stand and mince 15 pounds of apples and see if you still feel the same way.

With all the sweeping, mopping, shopping, chopping, stirring, baking, cleaning, etc., it was a full exhausting day–and it was an absolute blast. I wore myself out yesterday, and I can’t wait to jump back into it today. And maybe that sounds insane. Maybe that makes me sound like a glutton for punishment. Or maybe that just illustrates the truth of a principle Jesus established 2,000 years ago.

give_receiveToday’s verse is Acts 20:35.

And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

This is actually Paul talking to the leaders of the Church at Ephesus, and he’s reference something Jesus said in Luke 6:38. It’s one of those Jesus principles that doesn’t make sense at first glance.

How can it be more blessed to give than to receive? If you get something, that’s a blessing. If someone gives you something, that’s a great thing. Gifts are among some of life’s greatest joys. That’s why we have birthdays and Christmas and anniversaries and other celebrations where we give gifts to each other, right?

But what abut the person who gives that gift? You’ve been that person, haven’t you? The one who buys a gift carefully and wraps it painstakingly and waits impatiently to be able to give it to the person you love? Isn’t it a tremendous thrill to watch them open it and get so excited? Wouldn’t you call that a blessing?

See, when you get a gift, it’s awesome. But don’t overlook the joy you feel when you are the gift giver. And that applies to everyday situations in life.

When you do something kind for someone, you’re giving them a gift. When you sacrifice your time or resources to help someone, you’re giving them a gift. And maybe it doesn’t sound like it should work, but trust me, when you drop everything and give all you have to someone just because you can? Friends, there’s no joy like that.

When you stumble across someone who needs help and God tells you to help, don’t ignore it. Don’t shove it away. Do it. I promise, the greatest joy you’ve ever known is waiting on the other side. And they’ll thank you. They’ll thank you over and over, and you’ll almost be embarrassed to say “you’re welcome.” Why? Because you will be so grateful for the opportunity to do something in Jesus’ name that you will feel like the one who got the blessing.

That’s been my experience. Whether it’s time or money or talent or whatever, when I give it to help someone else, I get more out of it than I give.

That’s how giving to God works. He always, always gives back more than you let go of. He always, always pays you back more than you sacrifice. And He pays you back in ways you can’t quantify–in ways you can’t put a price on.

Take that time you don’t think you have to do something kind for someone else. Buy a friend’s groceries. Mow a neighbor’s lawn. Make popsicles for someone’s kids (maybe that’s creepy, but we had a neighbor do that when I was little, and it was the highlight of my life at the time).

Just give.

You’ll get more back than you expect. More than you can contain, actually. And somewhere mixed up in all of it, you’ll also have a great time.

So what are you waiting on? Permission? You’ve got it. So get out there and start helping people.

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