When we were children, we all heard the saying, “It’s better to give than to receive.” Usually, it preceded trips to the shopping mall for Christmas or birthday presents. When I became a Christian at age 31, I didn’t struggle too much with the concept of giving. To me, it made sense and God commanded it. That was enough. However, one morning I was deeply moved by the unexpected gift described in 2 Corinthians 9:14.
Gifts given to those less fortunate did more than simply provide for their needs. They prompted a gift to be offered up in return that far outweighs what they received.
“They [the recipients] will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you.”
Prayers – For Me?
It never occurred to me that those whom I viewed as being in real need would turn around and pray – for me? Don’t I have everything I need? So much so that I can share some of it with others? But that’s where they are so rich and I am so poor. Those who must depend on God for even their next meal recognize the grace, faithfulness and compassion of God in ways we never will. Day-by-day and moment-by-moment. It’s a humbling thought when you consider that from such grateful hearts, those who have so little offer up prayers for those who have so much.
Our gifts to the needy are certainly important, but they are temporary. However, what they give us in return – sincere prayers of “deep affection” – are gifts that no amount of money can buy. What a glorious God we have! Only in God’s economy, can the gifts we give come back to bless us in ways that last for eternity.
“I am well supplied, having received … the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.” (Philippians 4:18)
Shadia is a passionate Bible teacher, author and speaker who has a heart for seeing lives transformed by the power of God’s Word. She holds a master’s in biblical and theological studies from Western Seminary and is author of several books and Bible studies.