Abundant Living Vol. X, Issue 27

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

For most of my life I thought this quote was intended to guilt us into being a “giver” and that there was something bad or self-centered about being 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.  But once we learn it – I mean truly learn to be a selfless giver – something amazing happens in that our lives become enormously enriched.  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 that guilty feeling I just described and because I knew 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 much more from them than they ever gain from my expertise as a coach.

“My own experience about all the blessings in my life,” claims renowned author, speaker and consultant Ken Blanchard, “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,” because when we give we almost always – and usually to our great surprise – receive much more than whatever it is we give away.

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