“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
– the Apostle Paul, quoting Jesus to the Ephesian elders (Acts 20:35)
Why do we work? Some hold a 40-hour-a-week job simply to receive the paycheck. They glance at the clock all day, waiting for the moment when they are freed from their labor. Their reward comes on payday. Others stay in a certain job to receive a promotion that will give them more benefits. Others work because they hope for a good bonus at the end of the year. Some try to make as much money as possible so as to ensure security for the future.
What does the Apostle Paul say should be our reason for working? Speaking to the Ephesian elders, Paul reminded them of the words of Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Yes, we are blessed to receive a paycheck. God blesses our labor. He wants us to work at our jobs with all our hearts, as unto Him. But the bigger blessing comes to those who give. And that leads us to rethink why we work 40 hours a week anyway. We all work to gain. But do we work… to give?
In Ephesians 4:28, Paul claims that the reason we should labor is so that “we may have something to share.” This cuts against both the conservative American mindset that sees everyone individually fending for themselves and the liberal American mindset that keeps entire groups of people dependent on government funds. Paul tells the non-worker to stop being a parasite in the community, to get a job and start helping others. But he tells the diligent worker to keep on laboring, so that he can receive the blessing that comes from giving.
Too many of us think only of receiving. The bigger our paycheck, the better our house, the nicer our car – the more prestige we obtain in the eyes of others. Jesus’ way is radically different. The bigger our paycheck, the more we can give away.
written by Trevin Wax. © 2007 Kingdom People Blog