According to Acts 20:35, Paul told the elders of Ephesus that Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Paul had personally experienced the truth of this verse. Paul was a minister of the gospel. As such, “the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” [1 Cor 9:14]. He could have used his power as a preacher to be supported by the people whom he taught and to whom he preached. Yet, Paul said, “… we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ,” [1 Cor 9:12].
Paul reminded the elders of Ephesus that he had “coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel,” [Acts 20:33]. There were times he needed all three of these things in order to obtain food and raiment. In his testimony to the Corinthians, in 2 Cor 11:27, he said there were times when he suffered “hunger and thirst… cold and nakedness.” He told the Philippians, in Phil 4:12, that he knew “how to be abased… to be hungry… to suffer need.”
In fact, Paul did receive gifts from others in certain places. The Philippians regularly sent him help, when they had opportunity [Phil 4:10, 15-18]. Yet, because he believed “the words of the Lord Jesus,” he preferred to work and give rather than to receive. He said, “these hands have ministered unto my necessities,” [Acts 20:34]. And he didn’t just support himself; he supported them that were with him and he supported the weak [Acts 20:34-35]. He was a giver and he knew, firsthand, that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”
There are several blessings that come from giving. These blessings are:
The blessing of financial security – Lk 6:38 – give, and it shall be given unto you. You can see this truth in 1 Ki 17:8-16, the widow of Zarephath. You can see this with the woman of Shunem, who gave to Elisha [2 Ki 4:8-10]. God blessed her with a son, who died when he was young and whom Elisha restored to life. Now look at 2 Ki 8:1-6. God took care of her and her household all through a famine and then restored her all the fruits of her fields while she was gone. You just have to know that God took very good care of the widow who gave two mites [Lk 21:1-4]. In Phil 4:15-19, the promise that God “shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” was made to a giving church.
The blessing of eternal fruit – Phil 4:17 – Jesus gave his life that others might be saved. For them to be saved, they must be able to hear the gospel. For them to hear the gospel, preachers must be sent [Rom 10:13-15]. For preachers to be sent, people must give. When you give and people get saved, the gospel bears fruit and that fruit is on your account. Is it not a blessing to know that something you did helped Jesus to accomplish what he wants to do? When you give bountifully, that fruit abounds to your account. You have a part in the souls that get saved. You’ll see them in heaven and they will see you.
The blessing of abundant joy – 2 Cor 8:1-5 – you get much more joy from giving than you do from receiving. Heb 12:2 says about Jesus, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.” Lk 15:10, “… there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” As you give, your joy increases. It seems contrary, but it’s true. The Macedonians found this out by giving while they were in deep poverty. Contrast 1 Tim 6:9-10 where people who covet and love money pierce “themselves through with many sorrows.” In 2 Cor 9:7, Paul said, “God loveth a cheerful giver.” Your cheerfulness comes from giving.
The blessing of heavenly treasure – Lk 12:33-34 – you lay up for yourself treasure in heaven when you give. And your heart is there, too. It’s hard enough to set your affection on things above because of the influences in the world. However, when you give, your heart goes with your treasure. When your treasure is in heaven, your affection will be there, too. Heavenly treasure is what the Lord promised the rich ruler in Matt 19:21. But he just wouldn’t believe what the Lord said. Do you believe him?
Conclusion: you can’t get financial security, eternal fruit, abundant joy, and heavenly treasure by receiving and keeping. So, do this. Take God at his word and give. You will see for yourself that the security, the fruit, and the joy are true. These will be a testimony that the treasure in heaven is also true.