I think maybe at least part of the reason Jesus said, "It's more blessed to give than to receive," is because He knew how we we want to, or think we, deserve what we are given.
He knows we humans have a hard time humbly receiving gifts. We are either calloused and proud and want to make our own way, or, we are self-centered and proud and think we deserve everything. I guess that's part of our fallen nature. But its a God-thing in us when we receive with meekness and honor the giver.
I was given probably the largest, monetary-value gift I've ever received this week. It was hard to receive with grace. I felt like it was so cheap to just say, "Thank you." I didn't know how to show my gratitude. I wanted to jump up and down and dance and scream and run around telling everyone what an amazing gift I was given. So I began thinking a lot about the right way to receive a gift. I'm learning four things you may think I should have already known: It's important to say thank you. Honor the giver by how you use the gift. Remember God is ultimately the source of the gift. And remember the greatest Gift I've been given is Christ!
If I know I didn't earn what I've been given and try to payback the giver in some way, I fail to honor the giver or show thankfulness.
If I think I deserve the gift, that its my "right", then I have no grace or humility and also fail to honor the giver and express thankfulness.
God teaches me to receive gifts from people through how He's taught me to receive His gift.
I think of the story in the Bible of the 10 lepers who Jesus had pity on and healed. Only ONE of the ten came back to say thank you. Jesus marveled that only one person expressed his gratitude. From this story God teaches me that He values expressing thankfulness to the giver.
The other story that comes to mind is the Big Story!
The Bible says God gave us His only Son. When we trust in the Son as our salvation we are given the greatest gift... and more gifts indescribable. And God specifically teaches us that we can't pay Him back... we can never earn this gift. But we can live thankful lives and honor the Giver by how we live.
This teaches me not try to earn a gift I've been given, or pay back the giver, but to use the gift in a way that honors the giver.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above..."
"... it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast."
"When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned.But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. "
"Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls."
"In everything, give thanks."
"Our Father who is in heaven...Give us this day our daily bread..."
We don't earn gifts. We don't deserve them either. Earning and deserving are what we do to get a paycheck. Gifts are to be received thankfully, and used honorably.
So, if you're reading this, and you played a part in the gracious gift I received this week, I know I said it before, but let me say it again, Thank you! I pray I can honor your generosity and God's goodness by being a giver.
This generous gift also got me thinking about the gift of God. What I've received in Christ is far greater than anything I could ever be given in this life. Have I received what God has given me with such excitement and humility? Do I live a thankful life? Do I honor the Giver by the way I live? Oh Lord let it be!
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 6:23