I showed you by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said; “it is more blessed to give than receive”. – Acts 20:35
During a recent Indian mission, I had the privilege to work alongside an Indian Christian family dedicated to the service of the poor: a pastor, his son, son’s wife and her father, a team whose combined skills and resources were helping the less fortunate of their country. Their work extended far beyond speaking the Gospel. Rather, it blessed the poor in many practical ways.
Together they ran an orphanage of twenty girls and boys, ranging from 7 to 16. Each child needed love, care, tuition, food, lodgings, clothing, school uniforms, toothbrushes, etc. Try adding twenty children to your family overnight. Hard work!
Their hard work was not limited to orphans, however. This small family reached out to hundreds of Indian villagers–poor, humble people who also knew the meaning of hard work. Villagers who had had enough of empty words or false promises. India is full of false prophets, Christian or otherwise. This was not the case with the pastor’s family, however. They were loved and respected by all. The villagers could see their faith by what they did (James 2:18).
The aforementioned Indian family was highly educated, including degrees in Physics, Theology, Education, and Business, all combined to serve others. The greatest had become the servants of all– just as Jesus intends.
Acts 20:35 highlights this ethos. The Apostle Paul speaks to the Ephesians, encouraging them to do exactly what this Indian family is doing. Paul was an educated man who spoke a minimum of four languages. He was adept at theology and philosophy; he conversed with kings and debated with lawyers. He was also a professional tent maker, a highly sought trade in first century Judah. How did Paul utilise all these skills and resources at his disposal?
Did he amass personal possessions to make his life more comfortable? Did he seek to build his income and provide financial security for himself? Hardly. Paul was working toward an eternal inheritance rather than a temporal one (Col. 3:23). Paul learned that giving was better than receiving. Paul was not only a follower of Jesus Christ; he was a servant of Jesus Christ .