Acts 20:17 I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (v.35).
Doug Eaton wanted to celebrate his 65th birthday in an uncommon fashion. When he asked his friends how he should celebrate the big day, one suggested that he perform 65 random acts of kindness. And that is exactly what he did. At a busy intersection, he handed out $5 bills for 65 minutes. According to Eaton, giving to others was the best gift he could have asked for. “It’s been fantastic,” Eaton said.
Mr. Eaton’s birthday present to himself—giving gifts to others—was actually a virtue of Christians in the early church. As Paul prepared to bid the elders of Ephesus farewell, he highlighted this virtue of generosity (Acts 20:35). Along with warning them about false teaching, persecution, and the possibility of elders using their position for personal gain, he reminded them of his custom of working with his own hands, not only to support himself but also to meet the needs of others (vv.28-34).
Then Paul quoted a saying of Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (v.35). This saying does not appear in any of the four gospels, but because not all of Jesus’ words were written down (John 21:25), this saying was probably known in the oral tradition of the apostles. Paul was intimating that generosity to people who could not survive without help from their brothers and sisters was a distinguishing characteristic of early followers of Jesus (Acts 2:45; 1 John 3:17).
Giving to others should be a distinguishing mark of followers of Jesus today as well. God allows us to earn money not just to meet our own needs, but also to be a blessing to others (v.34). Let’s honor our Lord and celebrate our new life in Him by intentionally making our possessions available for God’s service and to help our brothers and sisters who are in need.
Read Luke 10:33 to see an example of how one person made his resources available to bless someone in need.
What are some of the blessings we receive when we give to others? In what ways will you make your possessions available to God this week in order to bless someone in need?