At some point in your life, you’ve probably heard the saying that “giving is greater than receiving”. This is especially true during the Christmas season as we all spend a lot of time making lists, buying presents, and giving them to those who we love and want to give gifts to. There’s nothing quite like seeing someone you love smile when they open a present you bought them. Giving makes you feel great.
But is this the type of giving that the quote is implying?
I mean isn’t this what we’re ‘supposed’ to do? Aren’t you ‘supposed’ to give gifts to your spouse, your parents, your friends, your boyfriend/girlfriend? Aren’t we supposed to take the time to carefully think of the perfect gift that will blow last year’s gift out of the water?
Don’t get me wrong, giving gifts to the people closest to you in something that you SHOULD do. It’s a great way to express love towards them. Love is almost always expressed in giving. But giving to those that you love is EASY to do. It comes naturally. And so we say, yes, giving is greater than receiving. We love giving to the people that deserve it. We love giving to the people that we love. We love seeing them happy.
But what about the people that you don’t love? What about the people that get on your nerves? What about the people that believe in everything that is opposite of you? What about people that talk behind your back, and would give anything to watch you fail? What about those people? Is it easy to give to them? Is giving to them something you would consider great, or even consider doing at all?
Let’s clear the air here on something- giving isn’t just about money. It’s actually WAY more than that. Giving encompasses everything that you have- your time, your energy, your talents and abilities, and much more. If giving were just about money, it wouldn’t require as much from us. Sure, that’s our money and we work hard to get it, but you can give to someone or something without a true investment or commitment in that purpose, cause, or person. You can give money without it really affecting you at all. You can give money to a organization whose purpose it to end sex trafficking without stopping to think about the victims they’re rescuing. This type of giving is easy.
What I think the quote really implies is this: giving is supposed to be a lifestyle, not just something you do during a certain time of year or something you can use towards your “I did my good deed of the week” checklist. In order for giving to be greater than receiving, it needs to cost us something- be it our comfort zone, our time, our attention, our routines, our resources, and even our selfish nature. And this isn’t just a one time thing. It’s an ongoing journey in which we intentionally think about and put others needs above our own. Because let’s be honest here- a life consumed by our own selfish needs and desires isn’t really that great. We don’t want to be people that agree with the quote and then never actually live that life out, do we?
Let me reiterate what I said earlier: giving to someone you love, know, and appreciate is easy! You can do that with little to no effort. But when you’re focused on only giving to those closest to you, you stay consumed and fixed on who fits inside your tiny bubble. And unfortunately, you’ll live a life that never sees the needs of the people around you. You’ll live a life far less great than it could be.
So, is giving really greater than receiving? Yes, I believe so. And that’s because it costs so much. Whatever you choose to invest yourself in is what you’ll reap as well. If you give generously, you will be receive generously. But if you give sparingly, you’ll receive sparingly. True giving goes beyond yourself and beyond your limitations.
So give to others this year. Give encouragement and compliments to people that you wouldn’t normally do it for. Give your time to causes and organizations that you believe in. Give to those who aren’t like you. Give to those who need it and those who don’t. Give hope and give love. Be a giver.
I guess that’s my challenge (to myself and to you) going into the new year- be someone who gives more than they receive. Don’t wait to get more until you start giving, because you might not ever have enough. Start giving of yourself now. Challenge yourself to give to others, not because they have earned it, but because that’s who you are. Give so far beyond yourself that you inspire others to do the same.
Giving really is far greater than receiving.