My family was recently discussing Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages® when my 13-year-old son stated, “my love language must be ‘gifts’ because I like to get things.”  And it’s true; we all enjoy receiving gifts.  So, is it truly better to give than to receive?

As I write this, I am just one hour out of Guatemala City, returning home from my eighth trip to install, setup, and maintain eight computer centers in rural Guatemala.  This initiative started as an attempt to bring quality information to Guatemalan kids who do not have textbooks or notebooks for their school work.  Providing computers to these schools has become one way our team at iBusiness Solutions is fulfilling our company’s vision of “informing today’s decisions and equipping tomorrow’s leaders.”

In just a few short years, we have seen results that have surpassed everyone’s expectations:

  • More than 1200 students are using these computers every week,
  • The students’ Spanish, English, math, and computer skills are improving, and
  • One school has seen the percentage of 9th grade students who go on to pursue a high school degree increase from 50% in 2009 to 75% today.

To realize these results, a lot has been given in terms of time, money, technology, and more.  This computer ministry could not exist without these gifts, but none of these gifts have been given sacrificially.  In North America we are blessed beyond the imaginations of most people in the world.  Our gifts, while given sincerely, are given out of our abundance.

Over the past eight years of traveling to Guatemala, I have had the privilege of getting to know and work along side people that have become true friends.  I have also come to realize the people of this culture love to give gifts, and this year I received numerous gifts from my very special friends:

  • a beautiful painting depicting a Mayan version of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”,
  • a shoulder bag made with the fabric colors and design typical of that particular Mayan village,
  • a table runner handmade by the mother of two boys I have known now for six years,
  • a beaded bracelet with a cross handmade by the wife of one of the pastor’s we partner with, and
  • many hugs and even more “muchas gracias”.

Better to Receive Than Give

These gifts were given sacrificially from churches, families, and individuals that have little material wealth.  The family that gave me the table runner lives off a few dollars a day and cannot afford to send their boys to school, and yet they use their limited resources to bless me with a gift.  What an incredible display of grace, gratitude, and generosity.

My Guatemalan friends are incredible people.  Their giving is sacrificial and it humbles me so.  My gift has been returned to me tenfold by their giving.  I have concluded that to give from my abundance is to be a blessing, but to receive gifts given sacrificially is a true joy.

Question: When have you received 10x more than you gave?  Please leave a comment below.