Extravagant Generosity Day 2: Acts 20:32-35

Today’s stewardship devotion comes from Rev. Kevin Stamps, who is a church planter in Radcliff, KY. Kevin’s church is called The High Ground and targets military personnel and their families. Stamp’s devotion, today, comes from Acts 20:32-35.

“Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’ ” (NIV).

“It is better to give than to receive.” Is that really in the Bible? Apparently so. I used to think it was something catalogs and shopping malls used to plaster on their advertisements during Christmas as ploy to make us spend more. But there it is in writing, “It is better to give than to receive.”

I don’t question the wisdom of this maxim, but I do find myself asking, “Why is it better to give than to receive?” Here are a few reasons why:

Giving things away opens us to receive more.
Think of your heart as a funnel. A funnel can only take in as much as it’s pouring out. Pour in more than the funnel can dispense, and you have an overflow, a mess that you have to clean up! And what if the dispensing part of the funnel is clogged? The funnel then becomes useless.

The more we hoard and hold what we have, the less room we have in our hearts and lives to receive from God. As we give more, we find ourselves joyful and blessed to do so. Furthermore, we learn that God promises to gift us for our generosity and even invites us to test him on it! (Malachi 3.10)

Giving reminds us of our place in the universe.
A child only thinks of him or herself. That’s understandable. After all, they’re children. But we expect people to grow out of that elementary way of thinking. We expect adults to get the “bigger picture” and to live not only for themselves, but for others. The same is true of our stewardship. When we give our resources away, it’s a stark reminder that they’re not ours anyway and that we’re dependent upon God for our resources and that we trust him (Job 42.2).

Giving feels good.
No secret here. Giving feels good and that’s NOT a sin. Could that good feeling be a gift from God?

Giving builds community.
Have you ever been part of a team that had a common goal which you met? It’s incredibly exciting. We find ourselves giving a piece of our life to be part of something bigger and it’s amazing because we get a great sense of joy from it. Consider the first disciples and all they gave up to be a Jesus follower. Jobs, lives, homes, family, etc. But look what they gained. I imagine they were some of the closest human beings on earth. They were a community because each had given to the cause.

Giving is a spiritual gift.
Lastly, I’ve come to believe that some people have the spiritual gift of giving. Some are generous and simply yearn to give to a cause bigger than themselves. I’ve met some of these people. We all can exercise this practice, however. We can start small. If a certain percentage of your income is simply too much for you to give at this moment, then start smaller. Some may only be able to give pennies to the kingdom. Fair enough. Exercise this discipline and gift of giving.

In the end, it is God who gives growth to our ministries and lives and he does so more when we’re free to receive.

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