We admire people who take responsibility for their lives and try not to burden others. Such self-sufficiency is commendable. But if every needy person in the world—and that includes all of us at one time or another—refused help, there would be no opportunity for anyone to give.

When we read Jesus’ statement in Acts 20:35 that “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” we tend to focus only on the virtue of giving. Our Lord did not say that it’s undesirable to accept a gift, but that by comparison our goal should be to give, not to get. Actually, both giving and receiving are commendable, enriching, and even necessary.

Perhaps it’s risky in a greedy age to extol receiving. Yet many sincere, well-meaning people hesitate when offered this lesser but equally valid blessing. They say, “Oh, I can’t take that!” or “You really shouldn’t!”

Why are we like this? Personally, I’ve concluded that it’s often because I don’t want to feel indebted to others, or I’m proud, or I want to have control. But these hidden attitudes are selfish and run contrary to the spirit of Him who said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Perhaps we need to give others the blessing of giving by learning to be a gracious receiver.