It’s More Blessed to Give Than Receive

Native Girl SmilingFor those of you who are new to Life Compass, I write on Spirituality, Faith and Ethics every Sunday.  Here’s why.

This weekend, I went with a group of 20 people to visit churches in two communities on the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona.  This was my third visit to these communities, and I’ve come to love the Navajo people.

The purpose of our trip was to help the local churches host Christmas parties for their communities.  We brought Christmas gift packs for each man, woman and child, which contained things like personal care items, socks, mittens, candy, toys, etc.

We learned that these gift packs really make a difference, as most of the people live in poverty.  There are very few jobs available in these remote bush communities – many who do work have to drive 50-100 miles for their job.  And many still live without running water.

These people have so little when compared to the “average” American.  And yet even in their poverty, they wanted to give. In each community, many who came to the parties brought in food dishes, so we all enjoyed a community potluck as part of the Christmas celebration.

I was enjoying a meal of mutton stew, grilled mutton, and fry bread when my mind recalled a scripture from the Bible (Acts 20:35) where the Apostle Paul recalls Jesus Christ’s words that “It is more blessed to give than receive.”

As I reflected on that scripture for a while I was reminded again that everyone, no matter how poor, has something to give – be it time, talent, or treasure.  And we rob them of their dignity (and a blessing) when we give to them without allowing them to give to us, according to their ability.

We came to the Navajo Rez to give Christmas gifts, but in our giving we received.  The Navajo people, in their receiving of our gifts, generously gave us a wonderful meal.  And all of us received a blessing in this exchange.

I think more of my giving should be this way.  Not so I can be blessed by what I give, but so the receiver can be blessed by what they can give.

What do you think?

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