"...help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"

Acts 20:35 

Happy Receiving and Happier Giving

| Aug 27, 2013

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Help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”—Acts 20:35

When I see someone who is weak—say a homeless person begging on the side of the road—it is tempting for me to ignore and, worse, to judge him. Thoughts of mercy, kindness, and favor do not quickly come to mind. Sadly, thoughts of self-sufficiency and cynicism are more likely to come.

But Paul commands us to “help the weak.” He knows it is tempting for us to look down our noses at others. Instead of succumbing to such temptations, he tells us to help these people, who are—like us—made in the image of God himself.

The way he encourages us to help others is by holding this reality in front of our minds, which was apparently from Jesus himself: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” So, while receiving a gift makes a person happy, giving that gift makes the giver even happier (the Greek word for blessed, μακάριόν, is the same word that describes happy Christians in the Beatitudes of Matthew 5:3–12 and their happy God in 1 Timothy 1:11).

Before applying this passage to yourself, think about the happiness of God and the happiness of man (as I just mentioned). We love to receive the blessings of God. We have life because of them. We are happy receivers. But God is even happier. He is the great Giver, so he gets the happiness and the praise as our Benefactor. He is “God over all, blessed forever. Amen!” (Romans 9:5).

Now, by way of application, notice how Paul tells us to pursue our happiness. By saying, “remember Jesus’s words,” Paul in effect commands us to increase our joy or happiness or blessedness. “You have received much from the Lord. He has made you happy. Now go and receive greater happiness by giving to others.”

The only way we will spend and be spent for the sake of the Gospel is by remembering—by calling to mind—the words of God from the Word of God: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Now, go and help the weak with these words in mind.

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