– Henry Beecher
The idea that clinched fists cannot receive is true because if someone’s holding on to something so tightly that they don’t want to give it up, they miss a tremendous bless by being blessed by God for giving. To receive a blessing you must be a blessing, to God or someone you know. Let us not turn the verse “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) into it is more blessed to receive than to give. Not one good thing you’ve done for God and for Jesus’ glory will go unrewarded.
Doing Good to our Enemies
You might not have many enemies, at least that you know of since the world’s growing more hostile toward Christianity, by here’s a great and godly way to treat your enemies, or at least those who hate you. Jesus Christ said, “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward” (Matt 10:42). Notice that even a drink of water for someone isn’t missed by God. That’s where the true riches of heaven come from.
A Living Sacrifice
If you don’t have much to share with those in need, then make yourself a living sacrifice. No, I don’t mean take yourself to a slaughterhouse. I mean what Paul means, by writing “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Rom 12:1). I do that at times, but the problem with making my life a living sacrifice is that I keep crawling off the altar, thus the need to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12:2).
Taking up our Cross
When we take up our cross for Christ, we must put down some things first. That is, we must empty our hands so that we can grasp the cross with both hands. Jesus told His disciples that “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”’ (Matt 16:24). This suffering may or may not be fair, as the Apostle Peter reminds us that “if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God” (1st Pet 2:20). Tell me Peter, exactly how is that good! Peter writes, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1st Pet 2:21). We’re called to suffer shame for Christ. That’s part of the cross-carrying.
The Bible does seem to say what Mr. Beecher said; “In this world it is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich.” The truest riches are found in Christ as He brings eternal life to all who believe in Him and whoever believes in Him, will be saved (Rom 10:9-13). Since our relationship with God is now settled (2nd Cor 5:21), we are now free to move into random acts of kindness for God’s glory so that others might come to be saved by the obvious acts of the love of Christ lived out in our lives. He is living in those who must be in the world, but not of the world.