The Grace of Giving
Tony R. Nester
Today I want to explore with you the words of Jesus when he said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).
But I want to begin not with the giving side of this verse, but the receiving side. Although Jesus' words emphasize "giving," they also stress the importance of "receiving." It is more blessed to give, but receiving has a blessing as well. That's where I want to start - with the blessing of receiving.
Some people don't know how to receive. You might know some of this kind of people. They can't accept a compliment. They refuse help. They insist on being independent to a fault. They despise any form of dependency. They hate to admit to their own needs. The rely on strength and will- power.
I know this kind of person because I fit the description. I grew up in a family that had very little money. We didn't own a car. I remember how embarrassing it was to ask for rides. By the time I was in high school I was hitch-hiking rides rather than asking for someone to help me out with transportation. The pattern was set: I would find my own way.
When I fell in love with Evelyn I found myself in a terrible conflict. On the one hand I loved her and liked being loved by her; but on the other hand, I was scared to see how much I needed her.
It has not been easy for me to be a receiver.
Jesus knew the blessing of being on the receiving end of things. He serves as a model for learning the blessing of receiving.
This is illustrated in the story told in Mark 14 that occurred in the town of Bethany. It was there that Mary anointed Jesus with a perfumed oil called nard. Nard was an oil taken from the root and spike of a the nard plant which was grown in India and imported into Palestine. It was very costly. Mary broke open a bottle of liquid nard and anointed Jesus' head and washed his feet. Judas objected to this extravagance and criticized Mary for wasting so much money.
But Jesus told ...
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