The ‘Art’ of Receiving

by Lester Young

We’ve all heard the old adage, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive”. Of course, it’s actually much more than just an adage: it’s recorded in the Bible (Acts 10:35). And exactly why it’s more “blessed” to give is pretty easy to understand, as long as you approach the matter from a spiritual point of view – which is something the world really can’t do (John 14:17; 1 Corinthians 2:14). How is it viewed ‘spiritually’? That’s even easier: you just pay attention to and obey what God has to say about it (or any subject, for that matter); because choosing to say and do God’s Word – whether or not you fully understand it and regardless of your ‘feelings’ – is the definition of “being spiritual” (John 1:1, 4:24, 6:63).

But since we’re here, just why is it more blessed to give? Well, it’s because ‘giving’ is never done in a vacuum; it’s always (always!) connected to receiving. Galatians 6:7 tells us very emphatically that “what[ever] you give is what you’ll get – what you sow, you’ll harvest (The Voice translation). (On a side note, we often consider the scope of that particular verse to be limited to financial dealings, but if you also include verse 8 as a contextual reference you’ll see that “whatever you give…” refers not only to money but also more widely to “whatever comes from you” – whether it’s material goods or subjective behavior. Now if that sounds suspiciously like ‘karma,’ it’s because the notion of ‘people eventually being repaid for the good or evil they do’ didn’t originate from the philosophical roots of Eastern religions. That concept of reciprocation is and always has been a spiritual principle of our heavenly Father, Who created all things [Deuteronomy 32:35; Psalm 34:16-17, 21, 37:9; Proverbs 19:17, 28:27; Malachi 3:6]. But I digress…)

Consider a farmer: do you think he’d continue to be a farmer if every time he planted ten kernels of corn all he got in harvest was ten kernels of corn? Can you imagine his field? Ten stalks, each one with a single ear of corn – and each ear producing one kernel. You think he’d even bother to reap them? Fortunately, we know seeds don’t work that way. God’s a multiplier and He made seeds multipliers, too (Genesis 1:11; Mark 4:20; 2 Corinthians 9:10). And because sowing-and-reaping works the same way in the spirit realm as it does in the natural, if done correctly the harvest will always be a significantly more than what was planted (Exodus 25:40; Mark 4:26-32).

So, the short version? If you give as God directs you, motivated by love and a true desire to help others (i.e., you’re not just giving with the intent – whether spoken or unspoken – of receiving something back from that person), His Word promises that you can expect a one-hundredfold return on your giving, period (Mark 4:20, 10:29-30; 2 Corinthians 9:10). When you receive a gift from someone, it’s certainly a blessing from the Lord (James 1:17). But when you’re the giver, you’re blessed even further with the promise of ‘multiplied increase’ – not to mention the recipient of your goodwill breaking out in thanksgiving to God because of you, which only helps to further increase the fruits of your righteousness (2 Corinthians 9:10-14). And we won’t even go into the fact that by giving you’re demonstrating your purity to everyone – including God (Luke 11:41, The Living Bible).

But none of those things mean that we shouldn’t be ‘receiving,’ too. Quite the contrary: as God’s Word has told us, giving puts us in position to receive a harvest (Mark 4:20, 10:29-30; 2 Corinthians 9:10). Yet if that’s the case, why are so many of us still struggling in the area of finances? I’m truly convinced that most Christians have a deep desire to give and would give more, this very day – if they could. I believe this because ‘giving’ is wrapped up in the package of Compassion, which is the very description of God’s own heart (Matthew 14:14; Luke 11:41). And if it’s His heart it’s ours, too (John 10:30; 1 Corinthians 6:17, 13:3). So while we do indeed have a heart for giving, it seems to me that we as individuals – and the Church as a whole – are sorely lacking God’s Wisdom where ‘receiving’ is concerned. And if listening to people’s talk is any indication, I’d say that all too often we’re dropping the ball before the play even starts – and we’re dropping it due to our expectation.

Or perhaps I should say non-expectation. I believe that more often than not, we give without even the slightest thought of a return on our giving, and we do it with a sincere heart. However, while this is indeed the proper attitude to take toward the one we’re giving to, we must not forget the principle that there’s always a like-kind harvest associated with our actions. And without question Galatians 6:7 lets us know that God doesn’t want us to forget it, either.

Of course, we don’t give just for the purpose of receiving, because such covetousness is wholly contrary to Compassion’s selflessness (Colossians 3:5). And yes, we are encouraged to give without expecting any type of repayment from the recipient (Luke 6:30, 34-35). But we have not been told to give without expecting any type of repayment at all. Indeed, the Lord Jesus teaches just the opposite. We’re supposed to expect a return – a harvest – on our giving, but we’re told to expect it from Him, the Lord of the harvest (Luke 6:38, 10:2; 2 Corinthians 9:7-10; Galatians 6:7).

“And now abide faith, expectation (which is the Bible-definition of ‘hope’), love, these three… (1 Corinthians 13:13). Scripture reveals that these three spiritual ‘materials’ are the most powerful and enduring substances in existence. With them – and only them – God created… everything! And while Love is certainly the greatest of the trio, nothing can happen without all three working together. The first two are intimately related and vitally entwined: You can’t actively be in faith for something without actually expecting it to happen – and if you’re not using your faith and believing for God’s Kingdom, His Creative System won’t produce in your life (Hebrews 11:1). On the other hand, you won’t actually expect something to happen if you don’t really believe it – and if you’re not expecting God’s promises to come to pass for you, His Creative System won’t produce in your life (Hebrews 11:1). Finally, if you’re not walking in love (which is faith’s fuel), the System’s never going to fire up for you in the first place (Galatians 5:6). All three must be put to work in concert in order to manifest the good things of God’s Kingdom that already belong to us (Luke 12:32; Colossians 1:13) – including return harvests on our giving.

If you don’t want to wait – and you don’t have to – until you get to Heaven to start living in the Victory God’s Word promises to every believer, ‘expectation’ is not an option: it’s a requisite (1 Corinthians 15:57; 2 Corinthians 2:14; 1 John 5:4). But it’s not interchangeable with ‘wishing’ – its carnal counterpart – which is utterly powerless and useless. Real Bible-based expectation – real Hope – is extremely powerful because it’s born out of a promise from God (1 John 5:4). Bible-based expectation has absolutely no dependence upon natural emotions, feelings or circumstances; it’s a spiritual ‘force’ that originates in God, because He and His Word – His promises – are One and the same (John 1:1; Romans 15:13).

So start receiving what Jesus has already bought for you by getting your expectation in gear – and by “in gear” I mean jacked up so high you can’t see the top of it anymore (Romans 15:13). How? By doing what God’s Word shows us to do: Acts 3:5 states, “And he [a man lame from birth] gave heed [fixed his attention on] to [Peter and John], expecting [anticipating] to receive something from them.” And Numbers 21:9 says, “…Moses made a serpent of bronze and put it on a pole, and if a serpent had bitten any man, when [that man] looked to the serpent of bronze [attentively, expectantly, with a steady and absorbing gaze], he lived.”

Do the Word in those two verses and fix your attention continuously on God’s promise, honoring it with your highest regard, and do so with anticipation of your desire actually being given to you (Psalm 37:4; James 1:22, 25). Follow Abraham’s example and only consider the expectation the promise brings you, regardless of how “impossible” it may seem in the natural (Luke 1:37; Romans 4:18; Hebrews 6:12-20). If you’re exercising your faith and expectation in a promise you know is from God, you needn’t ever fear “getting your hopes up too high”; because that very thought is just a ruse of the devil. So now you know you never have to fall for it again. Use a little courage and actually expect God to do for you what He’s said He’ll do – because He will. And He’ll enjoy it (Luke 12:32).

 

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2 Comments to “The ‘Art’ of Receiving”

  1. Great truth, Lester. Often people seem embarrassed to receive from others. My mother was one. When someone gave her a gift, her usual comment was, “You shouldn’t have!” I used to tell her to accept it graciously and allow the other person to enjoy the blessing of giving. It’s a wonderful truth that we can expect the Lord to give to us. After all, He has already given us everything in Jesus. And His Word tells us He has given us every spiritual blessing in Jesus, and that He will supply our every need. He paid so much in order to give to us that we need to graciously expect the best from Him and willing to give our best back to Him whether in our praise and worship or in our giving to others.

    • Hi there, Diane!
      You hit the nail on the head. The Lord paid such a heavy price – willingly! – for the sole purpose of bringing us back into His family and giving everything He has and is to us, as the Scriptures have pointed out from the beginning. Satan is the one who introduced the thought that you have to choose between material wealth and righteousness – that you can’t have both. Both have been given to us, as Psalm 112:3 clearly states. Of course we don’t place money – or anything else – ahead of God. But to not accept what our Father has already said is ours – bought and paid for by Jesus’ Blood! – in my opinion, does not fully honor Him. Thanks for stopping by, Diane – it’s always great to hear from you. God bless you!
      Lester

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