Messiah did so much for us, didn’t He? He exchanged His royal robe of divinity to put on a stinking mantle of flesh; He left the idyllic heavens to come to a cursed earth; He lived a life of trouble (Isaiah 53) and knew all the strife, emotional pain and physical wants of a human being; and, finally, He submitted to indescribable pain and torture just to be nailed to a tree. All of that in order that we unworthy sinners may have a chance to escape eternal damnation, which we all deserve, anyway.
Yeshua (Jesus) is certainly one man who knew all about giving to others, because He did all that with no expectation of getting anything back. He gave all He had and it brings Him great joy to see us receive it.
We are told in Acts 20:35 that Yeshua said it is better to give than to receive, but when we receive something do we do so in a way that blesses the giver? What I mean is this: using myself as an example, I used to feel very guilty and obligated when anyone would do something nice for me, or give me something. That is a worldly viewpoint- give and then expect to get back. When we invite someone to a party, do we do so because we enjoy their company or because we expect they will invite us to their next party? When we give a gift at a party to the host (birthday, baby shower, etc.) do we do so with the expectation that they will give something back to us at our next event?
If so, then we are not giving, we are investing. We are spending our money and hoping to receive back something worth as much or more. How many times have you heard people complain that they give nice things to someone but get less than what they gave back when it’s their turn to receive? Hopefully you haven’t, which means you hang out with the right crowd, but I know there are people like that out there.
Yeshua tells us that when we are asked for something we should give, freely and without expectation of reward or return (Matthew 5:40-42):
And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
When I give something to someone, such as treat them to dinner, or give them a gift, I do so without wanting anything in return. That said, I do expect a nice “Thank you”, of course, but even if that is not given, it doesn’t change the fact that I wanted to give because I wanted to give. And when I give something, I do not want the recipient to feel obligated to return the favor. I want them to receive as happily as I give.
That is the giving the gift of giving- to let someone give to you freely and wholeheartedly without worrying that you will feel obligated by receiving it.
Yeshua gave all, we give (most of the time) what we can, and sometimes we give a lot (if you have kids you know what I mean), and when we do so without any expectation of return and without wanting anything back, giving only to please the receiver of our gift, then we are giving correctly.
Subsequently, if you feel really good inside when you give to someone, let the person who gives to you feel the same way. When you are given a gift, don’t refuse it, don’t say, “Oh- you shouldn’t have!” or indicate in any way that you feel obligated to return the favor or are concerned by receiving the gift. Accept it with great joy (even if it is one that you can’t bear to own) and thank the person.
You may ask me, “Steve- I understand what you are saying but what if the person giving me the gift expects something in return, like most people do?” Well, my answer is give them something, if you want to because you want to give it. Do not give them something as an obligation or because they expect something back- if they don’t give for ‘giving’s sake’ then that is their problem. Those who give to receive will learn fast enough that you are a giver without expectation of return, and a receiver without obligation to give something back.
I have found most of the time when you give to people without expectation of return, they sense it; it all depends on your attitude. I will tell people I treat or to whom I give a nice gift to please do not feel any obligation to return the favor because my joy comes from seeing them enjoying the gift.
This is what the bible says:
Proverbs 11:24-27- One person is generous and yet grows more wealthy, but another withholds more than he should and comes to poverty. A generous person will be enriched, and the one who provides water for others will himself be satisfied
Proverbs 23:6-8- Do not eat the food of a stingy person, do not crave his delicacies; for he is like someone calculating the cost in his mind. “Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you; you will vomit up the little bit you have eaten, and will have wasted your pleasant words.
2 Corinthians 9:7-10- You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.
Therefore, when you receive something from someone, whether its a gift, money, time, possession, love, whatever it is: do so without concern about returning it or feeling obligated. Appreciate their giving and bless them in allowing them to feel the wonderful joy of giving.
If you receive happily and thankfully, you will have given them the gift of giving.