“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “Acts 20:35
Are we prepared to give?
Paul quotes Jesus as saying “it is better to give than to receive.” This directive is one of the rare instances when Jesus is quoted and the quote is not found in the Gospels. Paul was giving a farewell speech at the time and encouraging the people of Ephesus to help each other especially those in need. Paul had just spent a long time in Ephesus – preaching, teaching and working with these new Christians. He had instructed them in the ways of Jesus. He had explained the power of the Holy Spirit. These people were filled!!!!
Paul was leaving them – not to flounder but to flourish. God, through Paul and the Holy Spirit, had filled these people’s spiritual tanks. Like a cargo ship, the Ephesians had been in dock with Paul filling their cargo tanks and reserve tanks. Paul was leaving so that their ships could set sail to deliver what they had received to the people who God had directed them to deliver to. They were ready to be God’s hands and feet in their community.
As Christians many of us have grown up knowing that it is more blessed to give than to receive. We help others and we take care of ourselves. So, we rarely, if ever, accept help from others. We pride ourselves on being self-sufficient. On the surface, it would appear that we are following the directive of Jesus.
The question for us is, “Are we ready to give?” Are our spiritual tanks full? Have we taken the time to listen and study the words of our Savior, worship our God and follow the Holy Spirit’s direction?
“Giving” presumes that we have something to give. Jesus said that it is more blessed to give than to receive because the Blessing comes from taking the gifts we have already received and sharing them as God directs! The more we receive, the more we are able to give.
How do we know if we need to return to port? The answer: When we are floundering; When we lack peace; When we are grumpy and grouchy; When we react to a No. 2 problem with a No 10 response; When we are isolated; When we are overly anxious; When we are confused; When we are in a state of deep sadness.
If your tank is empty, then dock your boat and take steps to fill your spiritual tank. RECEIVE what God has for you. If you have been asking for God’s help, then don’t refuse His answer – RECEIVE IT.
Once our spiritual tank is full, we can then set sail and deliver to others as God directs. But we must return to port periodically to replenish our spiritual cargo or we will start tapping into our reserves; and if the reserves are depleted, we have nothing left in our tanks to give but hot air. That is always disastrous!
My prayer for us this week is that we refocus our eyes on Jesus, return to port to fill our spiritual tanks and remember that receiving is part of giving.