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…
I. It is blessed to give because GOD HIMSELF IS THE BOUNTIFUL GIVER. He is the Author and Giver of all good things, and it is blessed be permitted in any measure to reflect His image and to be followers of Him. If it be the design of true religion to restore the moral image of God to the soul, it must indeed be blessed to act habitually in a spirit which is so harmonious with the Divine mind and will. If, then, we would prove ourselves to be the children of God, we must cultivate this grace, and give freely as God hath prospered us. We must give liberally of our substance for the service of God, for the advancement of true religion in the world, and for the relief of the poor and needy. Nay, more, we must do so not grudgingly or of necessity, nor because our circumstances or social position render it respectable to do so, but from purer and holier motives, because we would be followers of God as dear children, do as our Father in heaven does, and accomplish His will during the little day that we are on the earth.
II. It is also blessed to give because GOD HAS COMMANDED US TO DO SO, and blessed are they who do His commandments. He who deals so bountifully with us, and loads us with His benefits, has commanded us to acknowledge Him in the mercies which He bestows. In Old Testament times His people were forbidden to appear before Him empty. They were to honour Him by setting apart of their substance for His service and glory (Exodus 22:29; Exodus 23:19). Nor were they to forget the poor and needy (Deuteronomy 15:11). In studying the history of the Jewish Church nothing is more striking than the large proportion of their temporal blessings which they were required to consecrate to the service of God and to the relief of the poor. In the best days of their history their tithes and offerings, their thank offerings and free-will offerings, were on a scale of truly splendid munificence; nor were they losers thereby, for they found in their happy experience that the blessing of the Lord maketh rich, and that He addeth no sorrow with it. The whole spirit of the New Testament confirms and strengthens these commands. Hear what the great Teacher saith, "Freely ye have received, freely give"; "Give, and it shall be given unto you"; "Sell that ye have and give alms: provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth neither moth corrupteth." Hear some of the many exhortations of His inspired apostles — "Charge them who are rich in this world, that they be ready to give and glad to distribute"; "To do good and to distribute forget not, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased"; "Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store as God hath prospered him"; "Whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his compassions from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?"
III. Giving is, moreover, A DIVINELY APPOINTED WAY OF ACKNOWLEDGING GOD'S MERCIES, and hence it is blessed. When filled with gratitude and love, the Psalmist asked, "What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits?" Feeling that he had nothing to bestow, he replies, "I will take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord now, in the presence of all His people." We have indeed nothing to render that we have not received, yet is He pleased to accept our offerings as tokens of our gratitude and praise; nay, He has appointed them to be made in this spirit and accepted for this end. We are not as Israel were, waiting for the rising of the Sun of Righteousness, but are rejoicing in the brightness of His rays. We have to thank God not merely for salvation promised, but for salvation fully accomplished and freely offered to us all. What boundless gratitude and what large acknowledgments do these unspeakable mercies call for at our hands! If His ancient people offered so willingly unto Him that it was needful to restrain them from further offerings, shall we come before Him empty?
IV. Finally, it must be blessed to give, because GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISES ARE MADE TO THOSE WHO DO SO. We are told that "the Lord loveth the cheerful giver"; and many are the promises which He has given to those who give with a willing heart and a liberal hand — promises of a rich return for all that they have truly lent unto the Lord. Are we exhorted to "honour the Lord with our substance, and with the first-fruits of all our increase"? There is a great and precious promise connected with so doing: "So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine." Are we told to cast our bread upon the waters? We are assured that we shall find it after many days. Are we charged to give a portion to seven and also to eight? The reason given for it is that we know not what evil may be upon the earth, and we do know that the faithful Promiser has said, "Blessed is the man that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble." Did the Lord reprove the Jewish people because in a time of coldness and declension they had robbed Him in tithes and in offerings? Hear the gracious words of promise by which He sought to recall them to the path of duty (Malachi 3:10). No man ever regretted having been a cheerful giver, and many have been enriched thereby. We have often seen instances of this — of men who have conscientiously honoured God with their substance from their early days, and who have found by experience that godliness hath the promise of the life that now is as well as of that which is to come. There are doubtless exceptional cases. There is much discipline needed in the school of Christ, and hence we see good men overtaken by adversity and placed in the furnace of affliction. These are appointed trials, but the promise standeth sure: "Them that honour Me I will honour"; and he who, from love to Christ, has given to the least of His disciples a cup of cold water only, shall in no wise lose his reward. And what heart can conceive, what tongue can express, the joy of the cheerful givers in that day when the Lord Jesus shall come again in the glory of the Father and all the holy angels with Him, and when He shall say to them, "I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat," etc.!
(W. Niven, B. D.)
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.'"