This article was originally published in The Global Voice: Newsletter for Global Outreach Developments, Int’l, Issue 10, Volume 13 December 2015. You can read the edition in its entirety here.
I’m about to ask you to give resources to meet needs. I’m telling you this in advance because without your help, we couldn’t meet the needs of people who, without our help, will not experience life as it was intended for them. I also believe that what I’m going to share with you is an opportunity to experience the power of God’s blessing on the other side of obedience. I sincerely thank you for reading this and hopefully acting on it.
Acts 20:35 “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “
I’m really moved by this verse.
Paul the Apostle, in a very vulnerable moment prior to entering Jerusalem and being taken as a political prisoner, admonishes the believers to consider Jesus’ words of generosity. I’d like to take a moment to meditate on the saying and explore how it’s more than a plea to have a good attitude about gift giving.
Though the saying could stand on its own, it’s important to examine how the believers of the day would’ve thought about Jesus’ words. Note that there is an intended recipient group for the giving; “we must help the weak.” The first century listener wouldn’t have heard the saying in the context of giving to friends and family around the holidays. Instead, they would have heard the saying specifically connected to giving to the weak.
Here, the Apostle shows that all of his hard work gave him a way to help the weak. This is an incredible challenge because, for most of us, this kind of hard work is usually directed towards some seemingly justifiable self-interest, even when that self-interest is disguised as something for someone else. The idea of giving to the weak has to be examined.
Broadly, we can define the weak as those who can't do for themselves, and without help, couldn’t survive. Conventional wisdom would consider giving to the weak as a risky investment since the return would likely never break even, but Jesus states one would be more blessed!
The phrase “I have shown you” denotes that this way of being was a model for the believers to adopt in their own lives. Their hard work could produce an abundance to be shared with those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to thrive on their own. The Apostle wants us to know that Jesus himself considered the opportunity to help the weak as a way to experience the blessing of God.
I hope these words inspire you to venture outside of the conventional wisdom sold to us during these holidays and consider that the greater blessing for all of us lies on the other side of using our resources to help the weak. It will be more of a blessing for you than it is for them, and for them, it can change their quality of life drastically. That’s an amazing revelation. Try it. See what happens when you fol- low through with Jesus words.
If you’re seeking an opportunity to give to the weak, this edition of the Global Voice offers you many practical ways to do so, and ways to enhance the quality of life for people in need. Thank you, and may you be blessed!