The answer to the question above could simply be, "this is what Jesus said, (quoted in Acts 20:15), and His word is Truth." This saying is indeed a great truth, where God Himself is the source of every gift, supporting what Paul said in Hebrews 7:7, “And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.” We should always be mindful of God's many blessings and benefits towards us, and the great pleasure God must derive when He sees His creation doing His will, even as did the Son He sent us. We should, in appreciation of God's goodness toward us, follow the example of service and humility of the One sent, as Jesus said "For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you." (John 13:15)
When we think of giving, we tend, generally, to think of temporal things like giving money to the poor, remembering the parable of the Good Samaritan who gave physical help, thus showing his appreciation for God's will embodied in the royal law expressed by James, "…you shall love your neighbor as yourself…" (James 2:8). But in reality, being physically blessed by the Samaritan's kindness should have imparted an even greater blessing on the receiver, that of increasing his ability to impart compassion to others that would spread as rays of light…..unlike that wicked servant who was forgiven a great debt by his master, only to lose that grace by not returning even a little back to his debtor because of he was self-absorbed, unthankful for the kindness shown him and not able to see. (Matthew18:28)
Giving goes far beyond the physical. Let us remember what James says in James 5:20, “Let him know, that he which converts the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” Now I ask, is there any greater blessing, for both giver and receiver, than this? When we go out of our way in the course of living to impart kindness and understanding, we continually gather unto ourselves countless friends and accompanying blessings, even as Jesus said in Mark 10:29-31, “There is no man that has left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” And we know that such giving is as unto the Lord (Matthew 25:40).
Giving, and the ensuing blessings, goes beyond the physical, and as noted, reflects the love we should have and demonstrate toward one another. Jesus tells us that God chastens the one He loves. Is this not a blessing? This reminds me of an incident I experienced with an elder brother while riding together in a car. The conversation centered on honesty, and experiences at a store check-out line where a mistake may be made in one's favor. I responded that I bring these errors to the attention of the clerk, perhaps with the exception if I'm in a hurry and/or irritated. Unfortunately, while it seems the level of my understanding or lack thereof was made clear to this elder brother, yet I received no correction. Correction that was due me, and which, I believe, would not have fallen on deaf ears. It took me some time after that discussion before I realized that being irritated or in a rush were no excuse for dishonesty, and was all the more reason to strive to be righteous. (Matt. 5:46) When we do the right thing, we let our light shine as an example, thus glorifying our Heavenly Father who cares for us. Is there any greater blessing? We should not discount the blessing we impart in such situations, and the greater blessings we lay up for ourselves (Matthew 6:20). We should also never knowingly neglect our responsibility to address error.
Jesus's quote in the title makes it clear that both receivers of gifts and the givers are blessed, but the givers receive the greater blessing. The receiver benefits from that which he receives, whether from the actual temporal gift or accompanying godly example, the spiritual side of that temporal gift. Yet one is only blessed by the spiritual side if the example of kindness received is taken to heart and applied. The giver on the other hand is likened to the servant in the parable of the talents that Jesus gives us in Matthew 25. The servant that acted in his master's interest received far more than he had, while the servant who did not serve his master well, lost even that which he had. What a beautiful principle that the receiver of a blessing (all of us) has the opportunity to share that which he or she is given, and thus also receive the greater blessings as a giver. This acting in our Master's interest should not be seen as a sacrifice, but simply a desired way of life, evidenced by how those who were blessed on the Lord's return answered, "When did we ever see you hungry and feed you…" (Matthew 25:37)
Let us always be mindful of the countless blessings we receive every day from our Heavenly Father, and not take anything for granted. Let us as good stewards of these blessings, all that we have, become givers like our Lord and Savior, and thus receive the greater blessing.
J. D. ©CDMI