Why it is More Blessed to Give than to Receive.

July 31, 2022 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: Acts - The Gospel in Motion

Topic: Christian Living Scripture: Acts 20:33–38

In his final address to the Ephesian elders, Paul reminds them one more time of his own example when he had been with them. His example of being free from greed and of working to provide for his own needs and even for the needs of his co-workers, demonstrated before them how they, too, should shepherd God’s flock. More than his own example, Paul told them to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Last week we looked at 3 concerns the elders should have for the flock as they protect them from the fierce wolves. In this passage today we will look at 3 more concerns that Paul highlights in his closing speech to the elders at Ephesus.

  1. Concern for Materialism (v.33-35)
  2. Concern for Prayer (v.36)
  3. Concern for Love (v.37-38)

The elders of the Ephesian church had such a fondness for their leader, Paul. They knew that Paul loved them like no one else had ever loved them. Paul had given himself and his material goods to see these men come to Christ and be built up in Christ. Paul had dearly loved them and served them for three years.  Now as he was about to leave, these strong, masculine, spiritual leaders began to hug and kiss Paul on the cheek, much like we see the Arabs do even today in the Middle East when greeting one another. The scene that Luke portrays here shows the deep mutual love between Paul and these men.

As we live and minister in this broken world, God calls us (who call ourselves Christians), to seize every opportunity to be an instrument of his love. When church becomes less about me and more about God, and more about the brothers and sisters around me, we start to love as Christ loved us.

Giving is more a matter of mindset than of amount. Paul was never wealthy, but he demonstrated a lifestyle of giving. It’s a matter of disciplining yourself to resist impulse spending and to give off the top because it is your priority. Givers are blessed because they are freed from the destructive sin of greed.

Jesus Himself is the embodiment of giving. He left the majesty and glory of heaven to come to this earth, not as a mighty king, but as the lowly baby of the stable in Bethlehem. He came to give Himself as the sacrifice for our sins. Paul wrote in 2 Cor.8:9, “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 through His poverty might become rich”.

Discussion Questions

  1. Greed seems to be a sin that few Christians recognize or confess. How can we be on guard against greed?
  2. How can we distinguish one who is truly weak, and one who is not living responsibly?
  3. Sometimes giving creates unhealthy dependence in the recipient. How can we avoid this problem?
  4. In a world of needs, how can we determine where God wants us to give and how much to give?


More in Acts - The Gospel in Motion

November 27, 2022

To the End of the Earth

November 20, 2022

Weathering Tempests

November 13, 2022

Crazy for Jesus