BAR 38:06, Nov/Dec 2012
The Bible In The News: Give and Take with Gifts and Tackles
The Book of Acts (20:35) preserves this saying from Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” In slightly revised form (“It is better …”), this phrase is widespread throughout the world. As reported in the popular press, this is indeed a worthwhile sentiment—although not always in the sense we might expect.
In an extended interview in The Guardian of London, well-known writer Jonathan Safran Foer gives voice to some of the ambiguities that arise in appropriating this expression. When asked, “Is it better to give or to receive?” he responded: “Depends. A punch? A Fabergé egg?”
I must admit that I had never before considered the matter from this perspective. Former rugby coach for Samoa’s World Cup team Michael Jones “was once asked how a Christian could be such an uncompromising tackler. In reply, he quoted from the Bible, saying: ‘It’s better to give them than to receive’ ” (The Western Mail).