Life is about giving. It is not about taking. Good life is a life of giving. There is a joy in giving. There is a secret of happiness hidden in the life of giving.
This is what Jesus said.
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)
He gave us the abundant life. Abundant life is a life of giving. Your life is so filled with God’s blessings that it overflows. That overflowing is giving. You don’t give from scarcity. You give from the abundance.
Abundance is not necessarily the abundance of material. That is not what Jesus is talking about. Those who followed Jesus did not become rich materially. But they had the abundant life. Abundance is the quality of your heart. It is the quality of your existence.
This is what St. Paul said.
Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13)
That is what abundant life looks like. It doesn’t depend on the material abundance.
The Path of Taking
A few weeks ago, a person came to me and told me after the service. Rev., if there is anybody in HiC who needs help, let me know. I can help. I am a counsellor. That is the attitude of giving. Your heart is filled with God’s blessings and it overflows.
When you don’t have abundance in your heart, you cannot give. All you can think about is taking. Because you feel you are lacking. You feel empty inside. That empty void within you drives you to want to take more. But the truth is it cannot be filled by having more.
If you take the path of taking rather than giving, you will become very unhappy. The more you try to take, the more unhappy you will become. I don’t know why this is the case but that is what I see both in me and in others.
Someone said this. While reading books or articles, I have a habit of writing down phrases I like. I don’t know where I read it but it was good so I wrote it down in my notepad.
Gratitude flows from the recognition that who we are and what we have are gifts to be received and shared.
The recognition that who we are and what we have are gifts – THAT FILLS OUR EMPTY VOID. When we have that recognition, we experience our deep void being filled and the gratitude follows.
We often forget about the givenness of life. We did not make everything possible on our own. We did not achieve everything that we have. Important things in life are given. The air we breathe. Beautiful trees and flowers. Sunshine we enjoy. Rain that blesses the land. These are all given. These are gifts of God.
We did not become who we are on our own. It is not all about our achievement. There were a lot of people who have helped you to become who you are. Your parents, your friends, your colleagues, and even strangers.
When you recognize that who you are and what you have are gifts to be received and shared, you will thankfully share what you have. That is life of giving. That is what abundant life looks like. You give not because you have to or because you feel guilty. You give because you love to. As you received good gifts from life, you want to share these gifts with others so that they may also experience the goodness of life.
When you take the path of taking rather than giving, you become smaller and smaller. Your existence will be shrunk up. You become a needy person. Very focused on yourself. Always think about yourself. You become a prisoner of yourself.
That is not who we are. We are more than that. We are created in God’s image. Our God is abundant God. All the good gifts overflow from God. God is always giving.
For God so loved the world that he GAVE his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. (John 3:16)
He even gave his only Son for us. Jesus came to give us life, the abundant life.
God is all about giving. We are created in God’s image. Overflowing abundance – that is who we are. You are much more than selfish people who always want to take. You are generous people who are filled with God’s abundant blessings.
There was an American psychologist who studied human needs.
His name is Abraham Maslow
He came up with a pyramid that describes the hierarchy of human needs. And he put self-actualization at the top. At the bottom, there are physiological needs. (Safety, Love and belonging, Esteem…) Physiological needs are predominant in infancy and early childhood. But for the mature adult, the need of self-actualization is strong. Self-actualization is living out your full potential.
But near the end of his life, he amended his pyramid, realizing that there is another step to the top after the self-actualization. That is self-transcendence.
Self-transcendence is thinking about others more than your needs. Other people. Nature. Even cosmos.
Life of transcendence is life of overflowing. You transcend your own personal concerns and needs and see your life from a higher perspective. Joy, peace, and gratitude come from this level.
This theory was already well spoken 2,000 years ago by our Lord, Jesus.
Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:24, 25)
Explain about “hate.”
You don’t become poorer by giving. You become richer by giving.
The Beauty of Giving
God will provide what you need. He has already provided what you need to live abundantly. There is nothing for you to worry about. Jesus taught us not to worry about what to eat and what to wear. God will take care of our needs.
This is what St. Paul said.
And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)
God is your provider and now you are a giver. When the relationship between you and God becomes like this, you are right on the path of giving. You will harvest lots of joy, peace, and gratitude. Your life will be filled with laughter.
Sometimes your giving can be taken advantage of. So we are cautious. It’s good to be cautious.
I once met a woman who needed help. She said her monthly government assistance didn’t come in. She had two children. Her children needed food. So I gave whatever I had in cash, about $40. Later, I thought that wouldn’t be enough and so I bought some groceries and went to the address she gave me. There was no such address.
So it is good to be cautious. But don’t let that take away your spirit of giving.
There is a beauty of giving.
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