Acts 20:35 – “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
The Greek word for blessed is “Makarios,” meaning “Happy.” A happy life is a blessed life. A blessed life is not about “stuff!” It is not about “give to get.” When a person develops an attitude of giving, we are the most like God.
Luke 19:1 – Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. (Verse 2) Now behold, there was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. (Verse 3) And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd for he was of short stature. (Verse 4) So he ran ahead and climbed up into a Sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.
(Verse 5) And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” (Verse 6) So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. (Verse 7) But when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”
(Verse 8) Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor, and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” (Verse 9) And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because he also is a son of Abraham; (Verse 10) “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Zacchaeus tells Jesus that he is going to give half of his possessions and property to the poor and if he had mistreated or cheated anyone, then he would restore it four times what he took. That’s an amazing statement for someone to make. That was the “action” of giving. And restoring fourfold reveals his attitude.
The Action of Giving
God giving is the “action” of the Bible! God gave His Son and Jesus gave His life! And if you are born again, you gave your life to Christ. All through the Bible, giving is the action.
Matthew 6:19 – “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; (treasures means riches) (Verse 20) “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Verse 21) “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Be honest: Where is your treasure? Where are most of your treasures? Is it in your home, stocks, or property? According to Jesus, that’s where your heart is. Don’t quote this verse backward as I heard a lot of people do. It doesn’t say,, “Where your heart is…” It plainly says, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Our hearts will follow our treasure. If we would like for our heart to be in the kingdom, put the treasure there! If we invest in a stock, we will keep track of it, often. We will want to know how well it’s doing. The heart will follow the treasure.
But Jesus made this statement: “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” He didn’t tell us that because God needs our treasure. He said it to benefit us! That must mean that when we get to heaven, we’re going to need it “for ourselves.” This goes back to: “In heaven, we will have responsibilities.” We will need resources to live throughout eternity.
What are we building up and investing in while here on earth that is just going to be left for someone else? Zacchaeus met Jesus and immediately gets a kingdom perspective.
There is an Attitude of Giving
Luke 19:6 – So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.
Matthew 10:8 – “…Freely you have received, freely give.” We can hear the joy in Zacchaeus’ voice when he says, “Look, Lord,…’ He’s really excited for what he’s about to give. He received joyfully and now he can give joyfully.
If a person struggles in the area of giving, they actually struggle in the area of receiving. If a person has difficulty giving joyfully, they have difficulty receiving joyfully. If someone has a hard time giving freely, they have a hard time receiving freely.
If a person feels like what they receive from God by earning it, they will feel like their the one that has to protect it. Look: Even if you work hard to have what you have, it’s God’s blessings on your work!
In 2 Corinthians Chapter 8, Paul is talking to the Corinthian church about giving. But 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 are actually about “Grace.”
2 Corinthians 8:7 – But as you abound in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us – see that you abound in this grace also. We give freely because freely we receive, and we give because of love.
2 Corinthians 9:7 – So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. That should be our attitude when we give.
A “Happy life” begins by God speaking to us, God changing our life like He changed Zacchaeus’ life, and then us responding in our action and our attitude toward giving!