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Tommy Teoli

Awe & Wonder

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Why is it More Blessed to Give Than to Receive?

Jesus spoke the words, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” but how is this true, and why? Not long ago, I felt the invitation from the Holy Spirit to ask the question, “How Jesus?  How is it more blessed to give than to receive?” I was surprised by His response.

Basically, it comes down to the opposition between love and selfishness. Giving is an expression of and a response to the love living and working in the heart. But this is all only scratching the surface.

There exists self-love that is pure, healthy, and holy. This love reflects and finds its refection in the eyes and the image of God. Healthy self-love holds this distinction; it is neither selfish nor conceited. This kind of conceit— the kind made so famous in the story of Narcissus—was the impetus behind Lucifer’s fall.

Selfishness: The Impetus Behind the Fall

Fallen angel

All sin stems from this sort of selfishness, the selfishness that is the self-love of Satan. This self-love delves deep into introspection where conceit, pride, and selfish desires are born. From there it perceives the world through the dark and obscure porthole of its own soul. This is the birthplace of covetous desire, greed, and jealousy. Covetousness craves everything it cannot find within.

Lucifer looked within himself and gloried in his own being. Without giving thanks to God who gave him light, he journeyed deeper into this self-satiating abyss and relished in the superiority of his own image. He held himself high above all else in his own estimation, but his imagined preeminence rose only in proportion to the sinking depth of his own self-obsession.

Having sunk to such a depth, he became unable to glory in the beauty of others. He could only see such beauty through the dark lens of his inflated self-perception. In this way, he perceived beauty without being touched by it. Instead, he jealously desired to dominate and steal all he did not himself possess.

The True Nature of Death

stairs-e1499526325903.pngBeing the perfection of beauty among his peers, his lust could steal no satisfaction from them. The only being more perfect and beautiful than himself was God. At this point in Lucifer’s corruption, he turned his inward-anchored eye upon the Eternal One and wept. He wept neither for grief, nor remorse. He was no longer capable of that. He wept with incalculable jealousy for the Immortal Light of Heaven, for the Fire of the Eternal Father.

Imagine. Lucifer beheld the Living God of all creation. He stood before the Lord in all His radiant glory. Instead of being overwhelmed with love, joy, and peace, he was overcome with burning envy. The Father’s beauty could no longer enrapture him with joy; it could only enrage him with jealousy.

How many times, and for how long a time, had Lucifer beamed in the brilliance of God’s light? How often had he soaked in the pure and powerful presence of Everlasting Love? How much had he tasted of God’s luxuriant life? And now, for the first time, he could neither taste the light of life, nor feel the impress of love. These senses died within him, because—having fallen so far in self-conceit— his jealousy cut himself off from being able to receive from the only source of light and life. All that remained within him was a covetous hunger and a furious hatred.

This is the true nature of death. Satan’s was the first death. Death is not the end of existence. Death is existence severed from God.

What Does This Have to Do With the Blessing of Giving?

When Lucifer beheld the image of the Almighty through the concave lens of self-conceit, the only effect the illimitable beauty of God could have was to drive his selfish senses mad with envy and unquenchable lust. This is true darkness; the inability to receive or be illuminated by light.

So what is the point of all this? Aren’t we trying to figure out why it’s more blessed to give than to receive? Yes, but in order to understand why giving is the greater blessing, we must understand the force behind the fall. We have to understand the gravity of selfishness and sin.

The Nature of the Fall is Written in the Stars

black-hole2.pngThe nature of Lucifer’s fall is written in the stars. Consider the Black Hole. This interstellar phenomenon was once a star. Not just any star, but a star of enormous brilliance and size. This star, having ceased to burn forth the brilliance of its being, collapses in upon itself. What once gave light now devours and destroys it.

What remains? A terrific darkness with a powerful and unquenchable lust to consume. Such is Satan’s seat. It is impossible for him to give, only to devour. Remember, “The enemy comes only to kill, steal, and destroy.”

The nature of the black hole is like nature of the leech. Wisdom once said, “The leech has two daughters, “Give,” “Give.”” The leech expects all others to give, but cannot comprehend giving anything itself. The leech has nothing to give but what has been stolen. Giving—for the leech—is dissipation. Bankruptcy and ruin are its end. There is nothing more loathsome for the leech than to give. It is contrary to both its appetite and its existence.

We’re beginning to come to the crucial point. This is how the world has come to understand what it means to give: To give is to sacrifice, shrink and regress. To give is to diminish in power, strength, resource and ability. Giving from this mindset is only considered when there is something to be gained in return. Selfishness is the primary motivation.

To come back to our original question, how then is it more blessed to give than to receive?

The Fallen World’s Perspective on Giving

The perspective of the world is the perspective of the leech. It is the viewpoint within the concave lens of the black hole where all true vision has been twisted and warped by the absence of love. Why might we feel the uncomfortable twinge in the pit of our stomachs when someone has prompted us to give? It may be we have become accustomed to the viewpoint of the leech. It may be we’ve been caught within the dark and endless gravitational pull of the abyss. These are sobering things to think about.

Heaven’s Point-Of-View?

We have to understand that the world’s perspective on giving is corrupt, which is why Jesus’ statement on giving seems so unrealistic and impractical. What then is the true perspective? What is the truth about giving? How can we see from Heaven’s eyes? What is the heavenly secret that earthly hearts corrupted cannot see? We’ll answer that in the follow-up to this post next week.

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