Giving vs. Receiving

We’ve all heard it.  We’ve all said it, right?  I can remember hearing it as a little kid at someone else’s birthday party, and I know I’ve said it to my own daughter.  Everybody say it with me:  “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.”

While I know it’s true, this is not a post about that.  No, I don’t doubt the accuracy of the statement, or the heart behind it.  After all, Jesus said it, according to Acts 20, so I’m most definitely NOT going to argue about it!

But I have been thinking about it a lot lately, and I’ve come to this conclusion.  It is easier to give than to receive, at least in certain instances.  Before you think I’m nuts, let me explain.

My family is in a season of receiving right now.  As anyone who is remotely familiar with us knows, I’m a teacher at a private Christian school, and lets just say that while my colleagues and I are hopefully storing up large eternal rewards, lets just say the earthly ones aren’t as grand.  (I’m not complaining, it just comes with the territory.  As my buddy K-max says, no one gets into teacher to get rich).  My wife and I made a decision several years ago that she would stay home with our kids, at least until they are school-age.  We both do extra things on the side to try and supplement our income, as time permits, but from the above two facts you can quickly gather that there’s not a lot of extra cash around each month.

Again, not complaining.  Bear with me.

Each month, when I get paid, we go through the same cycle of fear and doubt.  “What are we going to do?!!”  “How can we pay these bills?”  “Do I need to look for another job?”  And each month, the Lord provides.  Faithfully.  A dinner here, a check in the mail there, an unexpected gift.  Without fail.  And sometimes, we get something really crazy, like tickets to a U2 concert that we’d never have been able to afford outright!

And every time, I have the same reaction inside my head.  Every time, I feel humbled and unworthy.  Then I feel guilty.  Guilty that I’m not providing these things on my own.  Guilty that I’m not earning more to take care of my family.  Guilty that I have to depend on the generosity of others, instead of my own “might.”

Oh, don’t get me wrong!  I’m so very thankful for it all!  I truly am!  However, men, you can attest to this:  as a man, it is very, VERY hard to be in this position.  I want to “pull myself up by my own bootstraps” and show what I can do.  I want to think that I have some control over all this.  But in reality, and this is the clincher for me, I don’t.

And I struggle.  I struggle because I know the Lord is humbling me.  I struggle because I want to have a part in this, just as I want to think I have a part in my salvation, yet God is showing me that I have no part, only to receive.  I don’t want to receive.  I want to give.  I want to take part.  I want to have a hand in it all.  And it’s hard to have to continually receive.  I don’t like it.  I feel worthless.

But maybe that’s a good thing.

3 thoughts on “Giving vs. Receiving

  1. Matt, bro you are far from worthless. You are in a profession that shows its dividends in the future by the lives touched. We may not receive a lot of compensation in the present but we are building upon lives that will have enormous impact in the future.

    As far as the giving and receiving aspect, I have been on the receiving side often. Yes it is hard to receive but those that give do so because they love. They are investing in an investor. We invest our lives into our students. I remember when a very kind senior lady from Campbell gave me the money to go to Israel. Her comment to me was, “I cannot go but I can go through you!”

    Let others be a blessing to you. They see something in you worth investing in. 🙂


  2. Mattie, I lived this for over a year and a half. I think the “Manly” side of us feels like we are coming up short and not providing like we should. But EVERY MONTH it somehow happened and I can only thank God for it. Great post, bro.


  3. We’ve been on the receiving end many times this past year, and you’re right; sometimes it’s hard. You don’t want to “need” help. But it’s humbling and produces thanksgiving, so maybe that’s why God allows it.

    Keith told me about the U2 tickets. Sweet. 🙂

    As Dad always says, “just say thank you.”


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