Is it Really More Blessed to Give Than to Receive?

They say it is more blessed to give than to receive? Is it really? 

In a recent experiment, researchers gave 96 university students $5 each for 5 days. The students were separated into two groups. One group of students were instructed to give their money away. The other group of students was instructed to spend it on themselves. Either way, whether to spend or give, each student was to do it the same way each day.

For instance, if one student chose to buy himself a specialty drink in a coffee shop. Another student might put his or her $5 in the tip jar. Either way, the student had to do the same thing each day. The results were interesting.

The students reported similar levels of happiness on the first day. But over the next few days, the levels of happiness amongst the students who were spending $5 on themselves began to wane. Amongst those who gave the money away, their level of happiness never faded. 

It's not just an experiment, the joy of giving is our experience. We enjoy getting gifts, but we enjoy giving them even more. Think about what it is like to take the time to search for a gift, pick it out, and purchase it. Think about the joy it brings to give that gift to that person. We can't wait to give it!

So why don't we give - - - - even more?

"It is more blessed to give than to receive." It is not a quote that comes from a President like Abraham Lincoln. It is not a wise saying penned first by a famous writer like Mark Twain. It isn't a line from a classic Christmas movie like It's a Wonderful Life.

Jesus said it! Paul quoted it.

The quote comes from Acts 20:35. Paul is sharing a tearful goodbye with a group of people he has invested in. He knows that he will never see them again in this life (20:25). So what do you say for your final goodbye? How do you end such a speech? Paul ends it by quoting Jesus.

 "In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' ” - Acts 20:35

There are so many sayings of Jesus Paul could have chosen. But instead of, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Paul chooses, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." Why? Because their lives had been changed by his giving. It was a blessing to him. And he wanted them to also experience the greater blessing now of giving rather than receiving.

If science proves it and you've experienced it. If Jesus said it. Why don't we do more of it? Why don't we do all we can, not to get, but to give?

 Bible Study:

Read Acts 20:17-38. In this passage Paul outlines the manner of his ministry among the Ephesians. Paul made a great impact. What's important is not as much what he did, but the way he did it.

  • What Biblical principles did Paul apply that impacted the people of Ephesus?
  • What commands did he give the Ephesians to obey?
  • What are some decisions you can make today based on this passage?


Designate $5 per day to give away this week. Pray about who, what, and where to give it. See how God leads. Take note of the joy God gives to you as you give to others.


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