Famous Sayings: #42 — ‘It Is Better to Give…’

December 25, 2016

It is better to give than to receive.

it is better to give, than to receive, giving, Christmas, holiday

This is the last featured post of the year. I hope those reading enjoy these posts and look forward to more next year.

For months, I wavered on which famous saying to use on Christmas Day, since there are so many to choose from, but the feedback I got received last week helped me to decide on this one. (Thanks to Sparkyjen and Lesleykluchin for giving such great feedback.)

Now, let’s get into the research!


Where Did the Famous Saying Originate?

The quote as we know it was adapted from a Bible verse. In Acts 20, Apostle Paul talks to a group of disciples and tells them the following:

Acts 20:34-36

34 “Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’36 And when he said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.

Verse 35 is the important verse, but I added verses 34 and 36 for more context. Paul reiterates how important it is to give to the poor and to help those who need it more. That was one of Jesus’ most important messages.

Here’s more context: Paul was traveling with the disciples around the Mediterranean and across Asia but it was understood this was the last time the disciples would see Paul.

I also looked at The Phrase Finder to see if Gary Martin had more to add, but he simply used a version of the verse from the King James Version of the Bible:

I have shewed you all things, how that so lavouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.


Is It Truly Better to Give to Than to Receive?

It definitely is, although it is still nice to receive every now and then. 😉

As was mentioned in the comments section for my post entitled “Only Give What You Want Most,” the person who is giving needs to think about the recipient. First of all, one’s heart needs to be in the right place. And importantly, there needs to be a clear purpose for the giving.

When people learn how to give to others, they are thinking about that other person’s wishes and needs. Additionally, the act of giving can foster or strengthen relationships. That alone is rewarding for both the giver and the recipient.

For example, when you give to charity, it helps to do some research.

  • Find a cause that interests you.
  • Find the best charities to donate your money. Ask the following question: How much of my money will go to the actual cause?
  • Determine if it is better to give money, physical items, or your time to the cause. In the case of food shelters, it’s better to give money instead of food (canned food because those who run those shelters can get deals from local farmers for fresh produce.

When you are giving to someone you know figure out what they would like. Sometimes, the person might tell you directly what they would like to receive.

At times, it helps to pay it forward. This is a suggestion made on Wonderopolis and it’s a great lesson to teach young kids.

In any case, it’s great to see someone’s face light up when you give them the right gift. It’s even better to know you’ve helped someone tremendously.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or just don’t celebrate holidays, I hope you are enjoying your day. Here’s to you and yours.


Works Cited

“Is It Really Better to Give Than To Receive?” Wonderopolis. National Center for Families Learning. Web. Retrieved 25 Dec 2016. <http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/is-it-really-better-to-give-than-to-receive>.

Martin, Gary. “It’s better to give than to receive.” The Phrase Finder. Web. Retrieved 25 Dec 2016. Web. <http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/207300.html>.

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6 thoughts on “Famous Sayings: #42 — ‘It Is Better to Give…’

  1. It is certainly better to give than to receive. Wise words, no matter who said them. The look on my grandchildren’s faces when they received their holiday gifts last night was worth more than any present I desired. But the most amazing gift of all, I think, is being able to bring joy to sick children. My oldest son does this every year. He is the executive director of a Foundation that donates toys to sick and terminally ill children each year. Several years back, rather than just donating toys, he decided to dress up as Santa when he brought the gifts. It was an eye opening experience for him to see toddlers and little ones brighten up when they received a personal visit from Santa who brought them a toy. The reality is, that a majority of these precious children would not live to see another Christmas. And the delight in their eyes, the tears of joy on the faces of their parents watching their child enjoy one more Christmas is a cherished gift they will treasure for the rest of their lives. It’s a true wake up call about giving. We all enjoy receiving, but there is nothing as grand as bringing a smile to a sweet little face. Especially an innocent child who is suffering. No matter how weak they are, they are happy to get a gift from Santa Claus. And each year, I am so proud of my Jewish son, who dresses up as St. Nick to bring a little happiness into the lives of these children. The thing I tried most to teach my children was that we must do a “mitzvah” ( a good deed) as often as possible. And so I truly believe that giving is what it is all about. Especially during the holidays. Yes, I won’t deny that It’s great fun to receive. But getting is no where near as satisfying as giving. I promise!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing some stories.I hate seeing children suffer, but I’m glad foundations like your son’s exist to at least given them some measure of happiness.

      You said one of them your sons is Jewish, yet he dresses up as Santa Claus?

      The thing I tried most to teach my children was that we must do a “mitzvah” ( a good deed) as often as possible.

      That’s great. Children need to be taught about giving at an early age. Once they get in the habit, it becomes second-nature, and they will end up helping thousands of people. I should do this.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I am Jewish and so are my sons. But, While I raised them to honor and celebrate the Jewish faith I also taught them to honor all faiths. My oldest son married a lovely woman who is Filipino and So i have beautiful grandchildren who are mixed race and they honor two faiths. So being that my son is the director of a wonderful foundation ( The Jason Taylor Foundation) where they give back to the community, he is also apart of a local Santa project where Dad’s get together and dress up as Santa and go to each other’s homes to surprise each other’s kids with gifts. That gave him the idea to do it for Holtz children’s hospital.

        Liked by 1 person

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