Giving is Greater (Acts 20:35)
Acts 20:33-35, I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. 34 Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. 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 many places in Scripture blessed means happy. However, here the word blessed means supremely blest; fortunate, or well off. In other words, you are better off as the giver than as the receiver. When it comes to the decision of giving or taking, we should choose to give. Takers have a tendency to be selfish or are more prone to fall into temptations. Proverbs 15:27, He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live. Those in Scripture who were takers, like Achan, Ananias, and Gehazi were all punished. Jesus is our example of giving and we should follow in his steps.
The elders knew full well that Paul was not a lazy glutton and a freeloader. He did not come in with a handout! He did not expect the Ephesians to take care of him because he was trusting God to take care of him. He did not covet what others had, but he worked to provide for his needs. Paul reminds them that he has not been paid with gold and silver, or even with clothing, but has provided for his own needs, as well as those who co-labored with him (Acts 18:1-3; Philippians 4:14-16).
Paul wasn’t advocating the government welfare system where any and every one expects a government handout! He was not advocating helping those who can and should work to meet their own needs. He didn’t say it is wrong to receive from others, but it is more blessed to give to others. We are to be givers because Jesus Christ is the greatest giver. He gave the ultimate gift, and He is the example of abundant giving. He coveted nothing of this world. He gave all He had to others. He willingly sacrificed His own life for others. God’s Word clearly teaches that He put us on this earth, not to see how much we can get, but to see how much we can give. Receiving is good, but giving is better. Jesus was teaching that a greater happiness is found through giving rather than getting. That principle should guide every disciple. Giving to help the weak is an essential part of worship. Such giving brings a Christian joy. Untold millions of people have this backwards. When we become born again, new creatures in Christ Jesus, our new nature wants to give, but our old nature wants to hang on to what we have. Jesus tells us that it is more blessed to give than it is to receive. He wouldn't have said this if it wasn't true.
Four reasons why is it more blessed to give than it is to receive:
1. When we give generously, we put God first ahead of our own selfish interests. By doing this, we are obeying His Word and this obedience will cause Him to bless us.
2. When we give generously, this shows that we trust God. The degree of our giving is a clear sign of our freedom from fear. Freedom from fear is always a blessing.
3. When we give generously, this protects us from the snares of greed and covetousness. Generous giving comes from a humble loving heart. Greed and selfishness originate from a prideful "me first" heart and this obstructs us from the blessings of God. "... for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (I Peter 5:5).
4. We are blessed because the more we give to God, the more this opens the channel for Him to see that we receive abundantly in return. If we withhold our giving, we are actually withholding the blessing that our Father wants to give us. The receiving that most people want deep down in their hearts actually comes as a result of our giving. This is one reason why Jesus said that it is more blessed to give than it is to receive because, by our giving, we do receive. When we accept and apply these principles, giving really does become a blessing.
Questions to Consider:
Who in the Bible are examples of people who gave?
How can I be a giver and not a taker?
Points to Ponder:
We are never more like Jesus than when we are giving.
We give of our self and our substance to glorify God, to grow His kingdom, and to give support to the weak.
Giving is a heart decision, not an economic decision!
Prayer: Lord, I know Your promise of greater rewards in Heaven than those rewards we could ever receive here on earth. Enlarge my heart to give more than I would receive. May I not lose focus of the purpose You have called me to fulfill. Use me to further Your Gospel message for Your glory and to serve those who You place in my path. In Jesus name, Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.