Gabriel Baicu - The New Reformation
La Nouvelle Reformation - Noua Reforma

Biblical exegesis

 

It is more blessed to give than to receive

 

Gabriel Baicu

11. 03.  2013

    

What kind of God do we have? It is one who believes that "giving" is more satisfying thanreceiving.” (Acts 20: 35) From this we can draw many conclusions. Firstly, the image that God is an absolute master, requiring blind obedience from us, proves, once again, to be a false one. God does not expect us to give him anything, but he wants to give us its treasures of wisdom and knowledge. God needs people who know how to accept and appreciate what they get. The heavenly Father is not a selfish Person who expects us to give him glory, praise and other forms of recognition that they produce complacency. I think that most people think that this is what God needs because they personally need this and so they would do if they were powerful. For a large majority of believers God is a kind of extension of their own personality, a projection of what they imagine God to be. This phenomenon happens because they do not read the Bible carefully.

 God is characterized by infinite generosity. Heavenly Father can not but love because He is love, that nature is spiritual love. (1 John 4: 8) God is not punishment, He is not authority, He is not a sadistic Person, torturing people in hell, He is not an absolute ruler who governs without restrictions, a ruler who exercises power in a harsh, cruel manner, He is not an oppressive, harsh, arbitrary person, He is love. The N.T tells us that God is love and that is His essence. Unifying in love is God’s purpose and the struggle is between ignorance and the knowledge of the love of God. God is pleased when He can give, when He can see us satisfied and happy. God does not want to turn us into frightened and terrorized creatures, inhibited by the fear of not making errors. Desire not to mistake it animates all those who sincerely whish to improve, to be as good as possible at what they do and in what they are. For Christians “to be” is more important than “to make.” Everything that we don’t do from our spiritually reborn nature doesn’t start from the right source. If you help others just for the desire to be rewarded by God for good works, that is primarily a form of trade. Give something to get something in return.

 What is the right motivation for "giving?" Proper motivation is the sincere desire to help others in a disinterested manner. Of course, we continue to think of God, not as to the One who rewards our works, but to Him who is our model. In general, human motives are not pure. Somewhere behind our consciences, we continue to think that God will reward us for our deeds. The real reward, however, are not material possessions or earthly happy destinies, but personal satisfaction and happiness, when we offer with generosity, when we "give." The spiritual aspiration of every faithful Christian is to become like God, to reach the stature of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4: 13) This means that we might receive the same moral nature as His, that we become the space for the manifestation of His love. It is not absurd because the Son is like the Father and we aspire to be like the Son, and consequently like the Heavenly Father.

 In the selfish world, in which we live, each one is thinking primarily of himself or her and of course his or her family and the Christian spiritual aspiration seem to be a great utopia. In reality, it seems that there is not such a thing. However, there are few individuals who are exceptions to the rule. They love sincerely and help those around them, without expecting anything in return. These people experience Jesus' principle, which says that greater satisfaction is when you give than when you receive. We are imperfect in our love, yet we understand when we say that Jesus can find more spiritual satisfaction in "giving" than "receiving." Such a fact can not be accepted unless through our personal experience. Therefore God is not a Person who requires a blind obedience; our obedience is based on trust attached to our faith. God does not ask us anything other than what we are willing to give, out of love. God wants to win our love and in no way wants us to obey through fear.

 One which is the subject of fear becomes a slave without personality, a shadow of his master. An human existence which should meet the needs of a Lord almighty who sees everything and read our thoughts, but have not love, but only annihilating power and authority, seems more like hell than heaven. Often, religious institutions presents the image of a God who demands total obedience to us, unconditionally, who wants to turn us into robots, in some praising automatons, squeezing all personality and all human dignity out of us, subjecting us to the threat of eternal punishment, the punishment in hell torments, prepared for us. Such a God can love? Personally, I would respond negatively. I honestly believe that the Christian God is not such a Person and I think this because He finds more pleasure in "giving" than in "receiving."

 The corporatist Churches presents God as our Lord and they present themselves as His representatives which must be obeyed with the same rigor. In fact, God’s representatives are not the religious institutions in their entirety, but only individuals who really practice He’s love and find grater satisfaction in “giving,” than in “receiving.” A God who asks us to give up our personality, that in turn give us eternal life, is not the true Heavenly Father, but his image forged by religious institutions. Man cherishes certain values, including freedom, considering it even more important than his or her life. Even the eternal life cannot be the supreme value for man. Supreme value is freedom and the supreme freedom can be found only in love.

Eternal life is desirable, but not lived in any conditions, but eternal life that has personal meaning for each human individual. A God that doesn’t loves us, even if He gives us eternal life, means nothing if we become only some perfect tools, some subjects without the right to express our thoughts and feelings. However we can be sure that God, unlike religious institutions, loves us, because He prefers "giving," but "receiving" and He is ready to sacrifice everything, including His life, for those He loves. (John 3, 16)

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