“It is better to give, than receive,” goes the old adage. But how can you give away something of which you do not have?
Many of us are givers — we give our time, our money, our service, anything to help others. True servants, yes? However, there are times when our well runs dry and we have nothing left to give. Then what? There are times we keep trying to give, but resentments or bitterness settles into our soul when we are not recognized or thanked. But the truth is, we cannot pour water out of an empty cup. We have probably just run dry and need be filled.
And what about receivers? Some may call them “takers;” they constantly want to take things from others — time, money, opportunities, talents. Those who desire things for themselves at the expense of others are takers, not receivers. A receiver usually interacts with a giver. To receive implies that someone else has offered, delivered, or bestowed something to you. Taking typically is more forceful or aggressive. Most leaders take control of a situation, not receive control. In order to receive, something must be given, not independently apprehended.
Considering God’s love, there is a time to receive and a time to give. We love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) He gave His love to us and we received it. In the beginning we are on the receiving end. John 3:16 — “For God so loved the world that He gave…” Our first job is to receive. Once we have received, then we can give.
We cannot give out of what we do not have. In order to give God’s love, we must be filled with it. Once a pitcher of water is poured out of over and over, eventually there is no more water to pour. It must be filled up again. So it is with God’s love. We may try to give His love to everyone we meet, but we need to stay continually filled in order to have love to give.
How do we stay filled? By reading the Word, listening to worship music, praying, meditating, singing, soaking in His presence — to just name a few. These and other means are vitally important if we wish to continually give away His love. Remember, you can’t give away something you don’t have. And as far as the saying that, “It’s better to give than receive,” I’d have to say it’s about equal. It’s like a cycle, a flow, of receiving His love and giving it away, receiving and giving. We are simply to be humble vessels to be poured into and to pour out.