I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring 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
Whenever I get ready for an out of town trip, I refer to a trip reminder checklist that I developed several years ago. This checklist includes reminders about bringing my passport, any needed travel visas, cell phone, travel insurance, medicines, vitamins, clothes to wear, shoes, books to read, my Bible, preaching notes, gifts, credit cards, important contacts, and money. The last thing I want to do is embark on my journey and lack one of these important things in my possession. Paul was preparing the pastors of the local churches in Ephesus for his departure. He told them that they might not see each other again. In his final words, he gave them three vital reminders as they continued serving the Lord. These reminders help sustain us through the ups and downs of ministry.
He reminded them to be ATTENTIVE.
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood,” vs. 28. In this first reminder, he cautioned them to be alert and attentive to their spiritual lives and the lives of the congregations God gave them oversight of. He impressed upon them the reality of false teachers who would enter into the flock to seek to make disciples of their own. We must always be on guard for grievous wolves that enter into our congregation who undermine the preaching and teaching ministry of the pastor. Every congregation is always at risk of personalities that seek to persuade members of an unbiblical doctrine, or to create a seditious spirit of division in the congregation. Every one of us is vulnerable to being misled by false doctrine or motives. Take heed to yourself and to all the flock.
He reminded them to be ASSISTING.
“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak.” Paul was speaking to men who had oversight over growing churches. As our churches grow, there are increased needs to minister to. Paul reminded them to labor and work hard, but in so doing, not to forget to support or assist the needs of those who are weak. The weak are those who are physically infirmed and needing help with day-to-day things. It could be a single parent trying to keep the bills paid and raising the children right. It could be caring for an elderly person who is in declining health. It could be someone who is slowly recovering from surgery and is requiring extensive rehabilitation services. It could be providing respite for families who need a small break from caring for the long-term health needs of a loved one. Don’t forget that there are always those who are weak who need our help.
He reminded them to be ALTRUISTIC.
“Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Paul is emphasizing that we should never lose a spirit of sacrifice and giving. There are greater blessings to being a giver than a receiver. There is an intrinsic satisfaction we derive in seeing someone else being encouraged and built up when we give to their need. There is an incredible sense of fulfillment when we support a special giving need of our church, such as a building offering or Faith Promise Missions. The greater blessing is helping and not hoarding. The greater blessing is participating in a sacrificial offering instead of being stingy and selfish. We should be giving of our time, our talents, and our treasure. A giving attitude looks at what we can put into something, and not what we can get out of it.
These three reminders are helpful for our heart and spirit. Stay focused on purity, protection, and participation. Guard your heart and spirit from being misdirected.
Have a fortified God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: 2 Chronicles 32-34