Abundant Living Vol. V, Issue 24

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  – Acts 20:35 

For most of my life I thought this quote was intended to make us feel guilty, meaning that it is good to be a “giver” and bad to be a “getter”.  But that’s not the point of it at all.  It is not intended to be some sort of do it-or-else command; rather it is offered as sage advice, the kind that we might expect from a wise elder.  Since we all come into this world as infants who are capable only of getting, giving is a behavior we must learn.  And the result from giving is something unexpected, that our lives will be blessed.  It is one of the great paradoxes of life. 

In recent years I have been on several trips into Central America to help the poor who live there.  My first time to do this was probably motivated by feeling a little guilty that I had more than enough and needed to give some away.  Admittedly my trip began with a bit of an Ugly American attitude, that I had much to give and the impoverished people would be grateful for my generosity.  What occurred, though, was the reverse.  I quickly discovered that what I had to give them paled in comparison to what they had to give me.  I learned much more about generosity, friendship, sharing, and love from them than they could ever have gained from me.  

The same experience holds true in my coaching business.  I am often times hired to coach leadership teams and small work groups, and what I have discovered in doing so is that I learn more from them about small group dynamics than they ever gain from my expertise as a coach.  

“My own experience,” according to Ken Blanchard, “about all the blessings in my life is that the more I give away, the more that comes back.  That is the way life works. . . .”  Simply put, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  It is sage advice about one of the great paradoxes of life.

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