Originally scheduled for October 7
This verse contains one of the historical
oddities of the New Testament. Most of us have heard the saying, “it
is more blessed to give than to receive.” This is the only place in
the New Testament where that statement is found; the Gospels do not
record it. Evidently Paul obtained it from some source, probably one
of the other apostles. Luke thought it sufficiently important that
it was written down here in the Book of Acts. The phrase is so
striking that sometimes we miss the point of what Paul is saying
here. The key to this message is the phrase, “I have shown you…” We
learn best by example; and Paul is pointing out his example to these
Christians. He reminds them of the example that he has set before
them which illustrates the saying of Christ given here.
He gives us three examples here that would have
been obvious to his listeners.
The first is that he had worked hard
to support himself and indeed those who had come with him as
missionaries. In short, he was not a burden on anyone there but
provided for the entire mission through the work of his own hands.
Paul was a tent maker, and this gave us the phrase “tent maker
This, however, was not sufficient. He
tells us also that we must be about the Christians business of
helping the weak. It is a constant of the church that the poor are
always with us; so are those with physical infirmities and those
suffering from various diseases. His care for the church included
helping these people.
In all this, he asks them to remember
the words of Jesus. The guide to the Christian life is the imitation
of Christ. To understand how to do that, we must read and meditate
upon the Scriptures which tell us of what Christ did and why.
Indeed, we may look at Jesus in the same light.
He did not come to us as a conquering king. He came to us as a poor
child born in a manger. In his adult ministry he was an itinerant
preacher, living in poverty. When you consider that this is the very
Son of God, and that he chose this way to live on earth, you can see
that he was telling us by example how much pomp, ceremony and wealth
really don’t matter. We know also that he was constantly concerned
for the weak, the outcast — the “nobodies” of his time. Good people
would not associate with tax collectors and prostitutes; Jesus
partied with them.
At his command we remember his supreme example.
Jesus, the Messiah, came with the purpose of dying on the cross so
that we might have salvation. It is his body, it is his blood that
are presented to us in communion. We “do this in remembrance” of
him. This is the supreme example of caring for the weak, for not one
of us can produce his own salvation. By his sacrifice he opened the
doors of heaven to all who would come. Consider, then, the example
of Christ set for you as you partake.