By Clifton Angel
“Christmas in July” is a thing for some, and giving needs to be a part of our daily lives, and certainly it is a part of our weekly worship on the first day of the week. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Using Acts 20:32–35 (Paul's departure meeting with the Ephesian elders), let’s look closer to obtain a guide for giving.
1. Remember your inheritance. In closing, Paul said to the eldership from Ephesus, "And now, brethren, I commend 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 them which are sanctified" (Acts 20:32). Peter said of this inheritance that it is "incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away" (1 Peter 1:4). This description immediately lets us know that the inheritance Christians have awaiting them is far better than anything in this world—we must remember this if we are going to give properly.
2. Resist covetousness. Paul continued, "I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel" (Acts 20:33). Covetousness can be defined as passionately desiring something you do not have. When was the last time someone admitted their sin of covetousness? Dear reader, I claim no perfection in this area, but if we are going to be better givers, we must resist covetousness.
3. Receive of your labors. Paul said, "Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me" (Acts 20:34). Because "it is more blessed to give than to receive" does not negate our need to receive. It is logical and biblical that we must first provide for ourselves if we expect to be able to help another. There are two problems that frequently arise in this: (1) Some labor more for their lusts than their needs, and (2) Some refuse to labor and expect others to provide their needs.
4. Render to the helpless. "I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). There are people truly in need. They would work if they could. Or they may labor but still cannot provide their basic necessities. It is painful to be on the giving side of imposters making a mockery of the helpless and their helpers. Let them not hinder our giving as we labor and seek to "support the weak."
Truthfully, we've all been the imposter. That did not stop God from giving, even when it was painful. "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16–17).
Sunday, July 10, 2022
A Guide to Giving
- Clifton Angel preaches for the Coldwater Church of Christ in Coldwater, MS. He may be contacted through that congregation's website: http://www.coldwatercofc.com/