Paul Shares About Giving

“God judges what we give by what we keep.” (George Mueller)

Giving

As Paul was about to leave Ephesus he was reminding the flock that they would not be defenseless because God would still be there. Also they had God’s Word, and if they would cultivate a knowledge of God and His Word they would become strong. His Word has strengthening power to build them up, securing power to guarantee their inheritance, and sanctifying power to set them apart by God’s grace (32).

Next we find Paul giving some financial advice:

  1. Never covet another man’s wealth (v. 33). Instead we must look above and beyond the wealth of a wealthy man to the wealth of a wealthy God, who has promised to supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory.
  2. Don’t be afraid to work (v. 34). It is even a good idea for a Christian worker to do secular work once in a while.  It helps to remind him what it is like in the real “work a day” world. We must never take on the air of  “professionalism” in the Lord’s work.
  3. Be ready to share material blessing with others (v.35). Paul was not only willing to roll up his sleeves and work, but he was generous to share what he made with others. Paul’s words contained an example and exhortation. “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).

After Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed (v. 36). Everyone cried and hugged and kissed him (v. 37). They were especially sad because Paul had told them, “You will never see me again” (v. 38).

Many Christians have reacted against the so-called social gospel, the “gospel” that teaches salvation by good works.  In fact, they have reacted so much that they have forgotten the repeated exhortations in the New Testament for personal involvement in the lives of those less fortunate than we are.

Application

Ask each member of my family to tell an experience they have had to illustrate “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. I want to be adding to my giving to the Lord’s work each year.

Acts 20:32-38 (English Standard Version)

"And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »