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Giving and Receiving

‘So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7). Paul’s purpose was not only for money to be contributed to the poor but for it to be contributed with great eagerness. Likewise, God appointed almsgiving not only for the nourishment of the needy but also for the benefit of the providers, and much more so for the latter than for the former. For if he considered only the interest of the poor, he would have commanded solely that the money be given, and he would not have asked for the eagerness of the providers. But now you see the apostle in every way ordering by will first and above all for the givers to be joyful: the suppliers to furnish in a cheerful manner…God loves a cheerful giver…not simply a giver but the one who does this with pleasure.”…joy is the appropriate attitude with which to help others, because acts of generosity are a source of blessing to the giver as well as the receiver.” (St. John Chrysostom)

“Worthless is the charity of the man who bestows it unwillingly, because material charity is not his, but God’s gift, whilst only the disposition of the heart belongs to him. This is why many charities prove almost worthless, for they were bestowed unwillingly, grudgingly, without respect for the person of our neighbor.[Jesus] condemns not those who have riches but those who do not know how to use them…the offense consists not in the wealth but in the attitude.” (St. John of Kronstadt, St. Ambrose)

“Belief in God and Church attendance are highest among the poor and lowest among the wealthy…The good news of the gospel is not that Jesus has come and died in order to raise the poor up into the middle class. It is far more radical. Christ’s preaching seems in a number of places to be a rebuke to the blindness and deafness of those who have money and power. “Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven,” He says. He also notes that the meaning of what He says is hidden from those who imagine themselves to be wise while it is clear to children.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“It may well be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven because the wealthy do not feel the truth of their need for God…The opposite is true as well. We have no money and ill-health and think we are superior spiritually because of it but we really are nothing more than simply bitter….We must also be careful not to become judgmental about what we perceive as excessive wealth in others. It is as much a display of pride to deliberately dress down in an attempt to show everyone our humility as it is to adorn ourselves with gold in the hope that others will admire our wealth. Any kind of showiness is equally bad.” (Father Spyridon Baily, Sacramental Living)

“It is interesting how Christ multiplied His influence. He did so by initially giving His power to His disciples (Matthew 10, Luke 10), giving Himself to all of us through His crucifixion and resurrection, and by sending the Holy Spirit through the Father. We often think of multiplying, especially in terms of monetary wealth, of acquiring and receiving, but Christ teaches that true wealth is not monetary. It is Him, and to gain this true wealth we must freely give with a joyful heart.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“Union with the Lord Jesus is freely given to those who thirst – if they will extend His feast to others by directing them to Him: “Freely you have received, freely give” (Mt 10:8).” (Dynamis 5/23/2019)

‘And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ (Acts 20:35). The quotation from Christ is not recorded in the four Gospels (see Jn 21:25 - And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written). Clearly this is something Jesus must have said repeatedly that was taught by Paul and the other Apostles. It emphasizes the importance of giving as it relates to receiving blessing. We should not understand this like some base transaction, but rather as a deep spiritual truth. To draw near to God, to have union with Him, to have our image conform to His likeness, we need to give of ourselves, in whatever capacity we have, with the purpose of drawing others to Him. And we must do this freely solely out of love for Him.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Acts 20:35, Sacramental Living Ministries)

“Joy and lasting happiness come from an abundance of the Holy Spirit, not an abundance of stuff, and we are reminded that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Note: not just “better to give”, but “more blessed to give”—i.e. the blessing of God descends upon our lives when we give, not when we get. The obsession with acquiring does not lead to a more blessed life of joy and fulfillment.” (Fr. Lawrence Farley)

“And so we therefore see why it is that we give, and why we give seriously. This is part of our healing. Giving, rather than taking, is what the life of the Kingdom of Christ entails. As He showed us, it is a Kingdom of love, not a Kingdom of customer service. We are brought into the Kingdom to be healed, and that healing paradoxically comes when we seek not to be served but to serve (Matt. 20:28). To love and to serve is to sacrifice, to count it to be more blessed to give rather than to receive (Acts 20:35). When we do that, we become more like Christ. And that is what it means for us to be healed, to become fully alive rather than half dead.” (Father Andrew Stephen Damick)

“God blesses us so that we can bless others. He does not show us His goodness so that we can hoard it all to ourselves without concern for the hurts of those around us…Give a little of yourself, even though you feel stretched already. One certain way to receive encouragement, hope, or companionship is to give it.” (Charles F. Stanley, Gretchen Thompson)

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