32 “And now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that I worked with my own hands to support myself and those who are with me. 35 In every way I’ve shown you that it is necessary to help the weak by laboring like this and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, because he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
It was 98 degrees in the shade, and we were taking a break for lunch in a remote Guatemalan village. We had been working that week to build a house for a sweet family that had been living in a corrugated metal shed with only two walls, a roof and no doors.
I reached in my backpack to show the local block mason the beautiful Bible my oldest daughter had given me for my birthday. She knew I was about to leave on a mission trip that summer, so she found a Spanish/English parallel Bible for me to take on my trip. I was proud of this Bible and so thankful to my daughter for such a thoughtful gift.
The man listened intently as I flipped through it and was able to share some of my favorite verses in both our languages. He then told me through the interpreter that one day he hoped to have one just like that so he could work on his English while reading the Bible. Without hesitation, I took out a pen and wrote his name in the front of it and handed it to him. As his eyes filled with tears, I couldn’t help but think what an amazing gift my daughter had given me for my birthday—a gift I was able to give away.
When Paul was saying his farewell to the elders of the church at Ephesus, he encouraged them in their work in the Lord. He then reminded them of something very important. “In every way I’ve shown you that it is necessary to help the weak by laboring like this and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, because he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Our God is a generous giver. When we give, it gives us a partial glimpse of what means to be more like Christ. Paul understood this concept. He realized that giving is all about the heart. He freely gave of his time in his ministry, and yet he sought nothing in return. “I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that I worked with my own hands to support myself and those who are with me.” The true blessing comes, not from receiving a gift, but when we are able to share it with others. Remember that God gave us the greatest gift we could ever receive (see John 3:16-17).
I received a special gift from my daughter for my birthday, but it wasn’t until I gave it away that I received the true blessing of that gift. How true it is that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- What is the best gift you have ever received? What is the best gift you have ever given? Which one really made you feel better?
- Have you ever tried to “out-give” God? Try it sometime and see what happens. I think you will be surprised.
As we begin to look forward to the holiday seasons, begin conversations about gift giving. Talk with you family about what it would look like this year to not be so consumed with what we “want”, but what we “want to give”. Find an organization like Operation Christmas Child, to invest in this year. As you purchase the items to fill the box, be prayerful for this child that will receive them, and talk with your family about the blessings you have received by being able to bless someone else.
Only a tiny portion of prayer and financial resources that go to missions worldwide are used to reach Unreached People Groups. Choose an unreached people to pray for today from the Joshua Project.