ODJ: the benefits of giving
January 12, 2013
READ: Luke 6:37-38
Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over . . . . The amount you give will determine the amount you get back (v.38).
Did you know that the apostle Paul never quotes Jesus in any of his New Testament books? Of course, he mentions Jesus throughout his letters. The Lord was his major topic. But not once does he directly quote Jesus in his epistles. In fact if you were to thumb through a ‘red letter’ Bible (where the words spoken by Jesus are printed in red ink), you might be surprised to find that outside of the four gospels, Jesus’ actual words appear only a handful of times.
Though Paul never quoted Jesus in anything he wrote, he did repeat the Lord’s words during an emotional farewell speech to the elders of the church at Ephesus. As the apostle was wrapping up his final thoughts, he called on the elders to remember the following teaching of Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
It’s interesting that these actual words of Christ are not found in the four gospels, but they clearly reflect what Jesus taught about the benefits of giving—“Give, and you will receive” (Luke 6:38).
Surely we’re not to give for what’s in it for us, but Jesus and Paul plainly stressed that the giver does get something out of sharing with others who are in need. It’s the principle—we will reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). It’s the same idea that Jesus was getting at when He said, “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37).
The book of Proverbs echoes the same idea: “The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed” (11:25).
Giving profits both the giver and those who receive. —Jeff Olson
The apostle Paul also said that those who give willingly will have “plenty left over to share with others” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
What kind of a giver are you? How does Jesus’ example affect your view of giving?