Acts 20:35, “I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
In Acts chapter 20 we find the Apostle Paul in Ephesus teaching and preaching. He would spend time, during that summer (Acts 20:16), with the people and Elders of the Church telling them about his desire to return to Jerusalem. The people were very sorrowful, as they understood that after his departure they would not see Paul’s face again (Acts 20:37-38). Yet during this time, Paul would remind them that with his own hands he had, “ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me” while preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ unto them. Paul used his own experience to show them he believed, with an unwavering spirit, the words spoken by the Lord, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” What spiritual maturity we see in Paul’s example. What trust and faith in the Lord was declared by Paul quoting these words spoken by God.
Growing up in North East Georgia, I recall many times during the month of December receiving numerous gifts. In my younger years, I always received more gifts than I gave. I can remember making my mama a clay pot in art class at school, or writing a letter to daddy to tell him how much I loved him, but the gifts I received as a child far outweighed those which I gave. As I grew, the gifts I received became less and less and the gifts I would give grew more and more. Now, at the present time having a precious wife and two children, I fully expect to give more gifts than I receive during this time of year. Yet, I’m more content and happier than ever. As I grew up physically, things changed. Now don’t get the idea that I don’t enjoy getting a gift, *grin*. But I don’t find myself in a heavy weight of disappointment if I don’t. My hope is that this means I’ve grown up in more ways than one. I’ve come to a place that I understand better (not fully as I still consider myself a little learner in God’s Kingdom) what the Lord said and Paul quoted.
I would ask the reader to consider a few ways why it’s “more blessed to give than to receive”:
(1) The Lord is pleased with our obedience! The Lord taught His disciples, and us through His Word, this principal. How much more blessed can it be than to please Him Who loved us and saved us from our sins? David was convinced of this when he said in Psalms 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my redeemer.”
(2) Our giving manifests the grace which God has put in us! Jesus taught us in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” In Hebrews 6:10 we learn that our “work and labour in love” toward other children of God reveals how much we love God and how thankful we are to Him for His goodness and grace.
(3) Our giving is an opportunity for us to share with others God’s rich blessings which we have enjoyed! At the present time, I struggle seeing the Church (generally in America) enjoying a more prosperous time in history. I realize that there are some who are facing hardships, but in general we have more than enough. As the hymn writer said, “The Lord has been so good to me.” Giving is an opportunity for us to share with others the richness of God’s goodness which we have enjoyed.
(4) The joy in bringing a little happiness to a child of promise as they live in this low land of sin and sorrow is beyond monetary value! This world is full of troubles and tribulation. Jacob said in Genesis 47:9, “few and evil have the days of the years of my life been,…” God help me to realize, that when I have an opportunity to make a day easier for a precious child of God in this world to do it.
In closing, I would remind the reader that it is possible to believe the words of the Lord, which are quoted by Paul in Acts 20:35, to be true without ever experiencing the joy of the fact. If you believe these words to be true, put the truth into practice and learn by experience that the ways of the Lord are true. His’ words are faithful and living by them will always give us a peace that’s beyond understanding (Philippians 4:7).