Title: "It is more blessed to give than to receive” Acts of the Apostles 20:35
First, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for all the thoughts and prayers from my family, many friends on Facebook, and readers of my website regarding my surgery. My neighbors also helped me a lot before and after my surgery. I would like to say a special thanks to the Morioka Minami Church for inviting me to speak at their worship service in Iwate. It gave me the spiritual encouragement to overcome this challenge. Finally, I would like to thank Peninsula Hope Church in California, where my sister is a member, for all the strong prayers at their prayer meeting. Praise the Lord!
Now, let me share with you today's message.
Mother Teresa once said the following, “One thing that I ask of you: Never be afraid of giving. There is a deep joy in giving, since what we receive is much more than what we give.” In the Bible, there are these passages regarding the act of giving and receiving:
Luke 6:38, "Give, and it will be given to you."
Matthew 10: 8, “Freely you have received; freely give.”
The Gospel, however, does not contain the exact words, "I am better off giving than receiving."
How do you feel when you hear these words?
You may think that it is useful for living a rich and fulfilling life.
The writer, Ayako Miura, in the novel of 「Freezing Point」, introduced the idea of what remains after a lifetime is not what we have collected, but what we have given.
Even the genius physicist Albert Einstein said,"Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."
Some people might say, "I understand it well, because I feel better to give than to receive."
I think this is a very honest feeling. Actually, I feel the same way. (^o^)
On the other hand, although it's nice to receive kindness from others, at the same time don’t you feel a kind of burden?
For some people they react instinctively and feel obligated to give something back immediately.
For those people, they may not like to receive from others very much. I think this kind of feeling happens often among Japanese society. Most of the foreigners can receive without any problem.
They would say things like, “You shouldn't have, but thank you.”
Would you be disappointed if the person receiving your kindness did not acknowledge and thank you?
Furthermore, if people rejected your kindness how would you feel?
Hermann Heuvers, who was a priest of a Catholic Church and was also the president of Sophia University in Japan wrote the book ”Autumn of Life”. In his book, he discusses about people who have devoted themselves to others when they were young and healthy often needing the support and help once they get old or sick and can no longer take care of themselves.
There is a tendency for those people to not want others to see their weakened state. People who once were able to do various things without difficulty no longer can.
That's why they don't want to get support or help.
They feel like it is good for them to be kind to others, but they don't like receiving kindness from others.
Christians usually work hard to give because the Bible says, " It is more blessed to give than to receive." However, isn't it difficult to receive?
Receiving kindness is an important act of love, isn't it?
By receiving, we build up the giver.
It is possible to do the work of giving because there are people who give and people who receive.
So, the recipient does not need to feel any burden.
Paul didn't mean that giving is better than receiving. He believed that both are important.
Do you wish to have a life where you are willing to give and receive?
Are you willing to receive the grace of God abundantly in order to understand the true love of Christ?
As you receive the love of Christ, now then you can share the love to others.