Giving vs. Receiving

The holiday season is upon us once again.  Hearing “I can’t believe next week is Thanksgiving” has become as routine as “Is it hot enough for ya?”  As I wrote last year, the holiday season was different from any other I’d experienced in my adult life — very emotional, and special nonetheless.

Over the weekend I was part of a conversation about whether it’s better to give than to receive and I thought I’d share some of those thoughts here.

Is it better to give than to receive?

Of course!

Why is it better to give than to receive?

This is a deep question and by that I mean that it can be answered from a number of different perspectives….spiritual, health, overall happiness, etc.  

So I repeat:  Why is it better to give than to receive?

Because Jesus said so.  And for some of us that’s all we need, right?  But seriously, that doesn’t make for a robust discussion on this topic so just to clarify what He actually said–

In Acts 20:35 Jesus said:  “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Then the question becomes this “Is being more blessed better than receiving, receiving what?  Let’s just say better than receiving anything at all.

Blessed adjective [bles-id; or blest] – the definition in this context is something like…..

divinely or supremely favored; fortunate, blissfully happy or contented; bringing happiness and thankfulness

As for me, I would prefer to be blissfully happy by giving than to be pleased with something I received. But this opens up another whole subject and that is GRATITUDE because when we RECEIVE something we sorely need there is a certain feeling about that as well….that’s where the bringing happiness and thankfulness comes in.

So in essence, it’s better (because it’s more blessed) to be blissfully happy or contented from being the giver than to experience happiness and thankfulness from receiving?  I’m only further convincing myself that yes it IS better to give than to receive.

But seriously, enough about Jesus, WHY?

It’s better to give than to receive because giving builds social connections and strengthens existing ones. There are many things written about giving, as in of oneself by volunteering, being healthy–and that gets into some deeper study and findings, (told ya this was a deep one) but to keep it simple, I like the following…

The Dalai Lama observes that happiness does not come from material things but rather from a deep, genuine concern for others’ happiness. In fact, the Dalai Lama contends that focusing on one’s own needs instead of others’ results in negative emotions that prevent true and lasting happiness for the self.

I agree with the Dalai Lama!

Are you happier when you give or when you receive?




  1. I’m not big on Thanksgiving or Christmas as I don’t have money to spend on either one but giving can constitute time. Spending time with those you Love or donating your time to organizations where you are really needed and appreciated. My brother Stephen who has Autism and I will spend both Thanksgiving and Christmas as low-key holidays. Fortunately for me Stephen just loves being with me. He is not into material goods. You could give him a key chain and some M&M’s and he would be happy. As I cannot afford a turkey with fixings we will have a humble meal together. But the main thing is that we will be together. I’m happy, grateful and Blessed to have a brother like Stephen. Autism Guys Rule!!

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