Scripture Reading: Acts 20:32-38
“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.'” (Acts 20:35)
These were Paul’s departing words to the Ephesian elders. Paul left a spiritual legacy to all he ministered to . These last words of exhortation to the people he loved dearly were words of generosity.
By its very nature, the gospel is generous. God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that we could receive salvation as a gift (John 3:16). Jesus gave away everything so that we could experience the blessings of eternal life: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich” (II Corinthians 8:9). Jesus gave up His life for His people. The gospel has generosity all over it, in it and through it.
Thus it should not surprise us that Paul left the Ephesian elders with these words: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Paul attributed these words to Jesus. While we do not find these words written in the gospel accounts of the life of Christ, we must remember that Jesus did and said many things that were not recorded in Scripture (see John 21:25). Evidently someone who heard these words from Jesus passed them on to Paul.
When we experience the generosity of Christ, how can we not become generous people? When the gospel changes the disposition of our hearts, we think less of ourselves and more of others. Giving really is a matter of the heart (see Matthew 6:19-21). Paul wrote these words to the Corinthians: “Each one must give as he has purposed in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (II Corinthians 9:7).
Do we really believe that it is more blessed to give than to receive? I am afraid that too many believers really do not believe it. At least, their actions don’t show it. It is amazing how much Kingdom work is left undone because of the lack of giving by God’s people.
When it gets down to the core issue, we Christians are called to give ourselves away in worship, service, and acts of generosity with our resources. Giving is the product of a transformed life. If we truly believe the gospel, we will experience the blessings and joy of being generous people.
Lord Jesus, You were rich, yet for my sake You became poor. Thank you for giving everything for me, so that I could have eternal life. Enable me to be generous with my time, talents and treasures.
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