I have showed you all things, how that so laboring you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus…
We may well be thankful that this one word of the Lord Jesus, unrecorded in the "fourfold biography," has been preserved to us. It may be said to be Divine indeed. It gives the heavenly aspect of human life. It is the exact and perfect contravention of that which is low, worldly, evil. It breathes the air of the upper kingdom. It puts into language the very spirit of Jesus Christ. It is the life of the Savior in a sentence. To receive is quite on a low level. Any one and anything can do that; and the further we go down in the scale, the more we find recipiency common and supreme. The selfish man, the spoiled child, the ravenous animal, - these are remarkable for receiving. And although it may be said that there are truths which only the educated and inspired mind can receive, that there are inducements which only noble souls can receive, yet the act of receiving is one which is common to lower natures, and is one which ordinarily requires only the humbler, if not indeed the baser, faculties. To give is on the higher level; for -
I. IT IS ESSENTIALLY DIVINE. God lives to bless his universe. His Name is Love; in other words, that which is his distinguishing characteristic, underlying, interpenetrating, crowning all others, is his disposition to bless, his Divine habit of giving. He then most truly expresses his own nature, reveals his essential spirit, when he is giving light, love, truth, joy, life, unto his children. When we give forth of ourselves to others, we are living the life which is intrinsically Divine.
II. IT IS CHRIST-LIKE. He "went about doing good." He lived to enlighten, to comfort, to bestow, to redeem. It was little indeed that he received; it was simply everything that he gave to mankind.
III. IT IS ANGELIC. "Are they not all ministering spirits?"
IV. IT IS HEROIC. By living to expend ourselves for others, we take our stand with the best and noblest of our race. As the world grows wiser it has a diminishing regard for those "great" men who signalized their career by splendid surroundings, or by brilliant exploits, or by displays of muscular or intellectual strength; it is learning to reserve its admiration and its honor for those who generously spent their faculties and their possessions on behalf of others. These are our heroes and our heroines now; and they will be so more and more. If we would take our place - though it be a humble one - with the best and worthiest of our kind, we must be giving rather than receiving.
V. IT IS HUMAN, in the higher sense of the word. It may be human, as sin has unmade man, to be coveting, grasping, enjoying. But it is human, as God first wade man, and as Jesus Christ is renewing him, to think of others, to care for others, to strive and suffer for others, to give freely and self-denyingly to those who are in need.
VI. IT IS ELEVATING. To be constantly receiving is to be in danger of becoming selfish, of making our own poor self the central object of regard, of depending on continually fresh supplies for satisfaction; in a word, of moral and spiritual degeneracy. But to be giving - to be spending time, thought, sympathy, strength, money, on behalf of others, - is to be sowing in the soil of our souls the seeds of all that is sweetest and noblest; is to be building up in ourselves a character which our Divine Lord will delight to look upon. To receive is to be superficially and momentarily happy; to give is to be inwardly and abidingly blessed. It is far more blessed to give than to receive.
VII. ITS RECOMPENSE IS IN THE ETERNAL FUTURE. (See Matthew 25:31-46.) - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: In all things I gave you an example, that so laboring you ought to help the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that he himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'"