“ I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” (Acts 20:35)
These words of Jesus spoken through the apostle Paul are faithful and true. This is God’s message to a wicked, selfish and evil world. There are more blessings for the givers than for those who receive.
Our God is a giver and the more He gives the more glory He receives. The same is true for us when we follow his example in giving. The more we give with gladness and without expectations, the more blessings we receive. The giver becomes a Receiver and the Receiver keeps on giving.
On the other hand, it is much better to receive than to give. When it comes to blessing, honors and praises we must always strive to be on the giving side, but in regards to suffering and offenses we must join the ranks of the receivers.
I do not enjoy or pray for suffering, but I rather suffer than to make others suffer because of my sinful words or actions. I despise to be disrespected or offended by anyone, but I never want to be the offending party.
In the Corinthian church there were many divisions and conflicts among brothers and sisters in Christ. Some of those conflicts were so big that Christians were suing other believers and taking them to court (1 Corinthians 6:1-5). Appalled by this unchristian and unbiblical behavior, the apostle Paul told them:
“Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?” (1 Corinthians 6:7)
The apostle Peter, whose violent temper had led him into trouble in the past and who once cut Malchus’ ear in an attempt to defend Jesus, spoke these words:
“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9)
There are blessings for the Receivers of insults, offenses and sufferings. There is joy amid the trials (James 1:2, 3) for those that suffer in Christ, and there is victory for those that relinquish their “right” to avenge themselves (Romans 12:17-21). Finally there is a great glory for the Receivers:
“The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression.” (Proverbs 19:11)
There are two opponents in the ring and they are engaged in a ferocious fight. In one corner, there is a large and formidable fighter. He is indeed an imposing figure! He is known by name different names, but today he is wearing his favorite name in his belt: “FEAR.”
In the other corner there is a much smaller fighter. He is so small by comparison, that his opponent and most spectators are having a great time mocking him. There is nothing intimidating about him and even his name is a girl’s name: “FAITH.”
The bell rings and the fight begins. FEAR erupts into a roar that sends chills to everyone in the stadium … and beyond. He advances confidently against his tiny adversary, relishing in his imminent victory. FAITH stands his ground and does not flee from the enemy.
And then, it happens: One punch and the battle is over. The small fighter stands victorious over the large monster, who is becoming smaller by the minute. You see, FAITH was small but solid, but FEAR was filled with mostly smoke.
This imaginary (and yet real) fight reminds us of the encounter between David and Goliath. The giant used the weapons of fear and intimidation effectively against Israel’s army, turning all the Hebrew soldiers into scared little children.
Goliath wreaked havoc for many days, until a small youth appeared in the scene and dared to face and later on, defeat him. David represents faith in the same measure that Goliath is a symbol of fear, and on that day, FAITH won (read 1 Samuel 17).
Many years later, one man battled against FEAR, evil, sadness, doubt and all the hosts of darkness and won, not only a battle (like David) but the entire war. The whole world fought against Him and He won. Death and sin fought against Him and He won. The devil and his armies fought against Him and he won.
He cried: “it is finished” (John 19:30) and this means that He won. He completed the mission; He defeated all his enemies and He rescued us from hell. There is nothing to fear anymore for those who follow Jesus: The Conqueror.
All we need is to have faith in Him. It might be small like a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20), but if it is anchored in the Rock, nothing will move us (Matthew 7:24, 25). I have been attacked relentlessly in recent weeks and I would have been defeated, if not for that small (yet steadfast) faith in Jesus.
I am weak and my enemies are vicious and strong, but I will walk (or crawl if I have to) by faith (Romans 1:17) and God will lead me to victory
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (1 John 5:4)