The last phrase of this passage is so powerful and so familiar, we often miss the incredible message in it. “It is more blessed to give than to receive”. This suggests we receive a greater blessing by giving. There is greater value (for us) in serving than in hoarding. And so, in essence, the verse is saying we receive (true riches) more by giving than we do by receiving (earthly riches). This is a profound truth: giving and serving are not just beneficial to others, they benefit the giver as well.
We too often seek mountaintop experiences, worldly riches, and temporary emotional relief because we believe it is what will do us the most good. Human beings always act in the manner they perceive to be in their best interest.
What Paul is defending here is his stance in the cosmic question: what is really in my best interest? Is it the silver and gold that belongs to others? Or is it helping the weak and remembering Jesus? Is it coveting others through the lens of comparison and envy? Or is it working hard to steward what is rightly ours? Is it obsessing over our fleshly desires? Or is it seeing the value of our needs and the needs of others as equally important and mutually beneficial?
We have to decide every day what we believe is in our best interest. What does it take to be blessed? The riches of this world or the promises of the Kingdom of God? Stewarding our gifts and opportunities to serve and provide? Or hoarding our treasures to brag and validate? How we answer these questions will determine the way we live, love, and serve.
“I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 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 20:33-35