Cheerful giving

By Bishop Jonathan Holston

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have eternal life.”—John 3:16

When was the last time you heard the refrain, “It is better to give than to receive”? If the truth be told, we hear it all the time, especially this time of year.

I wonder if we really believe it. Just think, we recite the phrase as if it is a foregone conclusion. We print it on bumper stickers and billboards. We send it out on email blasts and share quotes on Facebook. We teach it to our children and mutter it under our breath when circumstances don’t go as expected.

In reality, what seems simple enough is difficult to live out. In a world that encourages and seeks personal gain as well as ensuring that the things we receive are equal to what we have given, this axiom is difficult to put into practice. Yet I believe the statement does ring true: it is better to give than receive. In fact, generosity and giving in any way offers long-lasting happiness, purpose and fulfillment. Far too many of us endure a life with way too much to do, way too much to eat and way too much stress to handle.

As a child growing up, I often heard the people of faith simply sing a song of great resolve: “(You) just can’t beat God’s giving, no matter how you try. And just as sure as you are living and the Lord is in heaven on high. The more you give, the more He gives to you, but keep on giving because it’s really true; that you can’t beat God’s giving, no matter how you try.”

As we begin this new year of great opportunities disguised as impossible situations, I want you to be encouraged in the giving of your time, talent, gifts, service and witness. I want you to remember your baptism and be thankful. I want you to be one with Christ, one with each other and one in ministry to all the world.

Truly, I believe it is better to give than to receive because Christ gave that we all may have life abundantly. Be encouraged!

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