by Rick Warren — October 24, 2022
From Radicalis: Developing Spiritual Roots
“There is more happiness in giving than in receiving.”
Acts 20:35 (GNT)
When it comes to generosity, one of the best ways to learn is from the examples of others.
I learned how to be generous from my parents. I grew up watching them give away so many things in life. They gave away hospitality, income, and food. They gave away time, energy, and effort. They held out their gifts and resources with an open hand, and they were some of the most joyful people I ever knew.
The Bible offers another great model of generosity: the church in Macedonia. Here’s what the apostle Paul said about them: “We want you to know what God’s grace has accomplished in the churches in Macedonia. They have been severely tested by the troubles they went through; but their joy was so great that they were extremely generous in their giving, even though they are very poor” (2 Corinthians 8:1-2 GNT).
Notice how the church in Macedonia had their own problems to deal with. They were “severely tested” because they lived during the Roman Empire, when Nero was emperor. It was a time when being a Christian could lead to a death sentence. The Macedonians were not only being persecuted for their faith, but they were also extremely poor and maybe in need of financial assistance themselves.
But because “their joy was so great,” their difficult circumstances didn’t stop them from being “extremely generous in their giving.” They didn’t give out of duty or obligation. They gave out of joy.
The Bible says, “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving” (Acts 20:35 GNT).
When I was a kid, I didn’t believe that verse. I was immature and thought it was more fun to get than to give. And Christmas was always about me: “What am I going to get?”
But as my parents taught me the value of generosity, I began to experience the joy that comes from giving. I slowly began to mature and understand there really is more joy in giving than receiving.
Maybe you find yourself giving out of pressure or compulsion—and you’re miserable. Try this instead: Give out of joy, knowing that God is always generous in providing for your needs. After all, he’s already given you the greatest gift of all, the gift of salvation through his Son, Jesus Christ.