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Paul's Goodbye

In everything I did, I showed you that 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 to receive.” Acts 20:35 NIV

It's hard to say goodbye, even when we hope it's for a short time. When we part from those, we love in those last few minutes, whether at the bedside or an airport boarding gate, we want to say those necessary things before we see them again.

In today's verse, Luke records Paul's goodbye to the elders in Ephesus. He is on his way to Jerusalem, and though he is unsure of what he will face there, he is sure he will never see these people he's grown to love in the three years he's spent with them. He leaves them with these words of advice and encouragement.

He has been to them the example of Jesus Christ. Though the words attributed to Jesus are nowhere else other than here, it does not undermine Paul's message, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

Though Jesus may not have spoken those words, he certainly lived them. The idea that giving is better than receiving is consistent with the upside-down message of Jesus' kin-dom. Where the world's philosophy is "give me," God says, "give." Where the world says to trod on the weak, God says to help them and show them love.

What we hear in Paul's goodbye resounds with us today. It reminds us of why Jesus came and what it means to be his disciples, to give freely of our love, and in that sharing, we are blessed.

Father, thank you for giving freely of your love. In this love, you sent our savior and example, Jesus. Please transform our hearts from the desire to receive to those of giving, and may all our giving be for your glory. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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