In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ Acts 20:35
I find this combination of text and painting almost overwhelming. Perhaps it is the similarity between this young boy and my own son Harrison that stopped me in my tracks. The skin tone, hair colour even the physical size and presence are striking to me.
Final words from the pastor
These are the final words of Paul to the elders of the Ephesian Church before he sets sail, knowing he will never see them again. After saying this they knelt and prayed before embracing each other with tears.
If you were asked to write a speech for Paul to the leaders of his church what would you write? As their pastor what could Paul say that would have the most benefit in their walk with Jesus.
Paul’s message was ‘follow my example, I have not sought to be blessed by you but to bless you. I have not sought to gain riches from you but to bring you riches.’ Paul instructed them that they MUST help the weak and as a result they themselves will be blessed.
Rewind to Micah
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
The word translated ‘to love kindness’ (hesed) is also often translated ‘loving kindness’ or ‘steadfast love’. This word appears 250 times in the Bible, mostly used to describe God, but 25% of the time it describes how we should respond to others.
Paul’s enduring message is that the church should be the source of enduring love
This instruction is possibly the perfect definition of Win/Win. Living sacrificially in order to help we are blessed more than if we were receiving help. If you have ever been on the receiving end of help you will understand just how great this ‘greater blessing’ must be.
You can get a hi-res copy of the Augustus Edwin Mulready painting ‘Uncared for’ here