Giving and Receiving

WHEN Paul was at Miletus on his way to Jerusalem, he found that he could not spare the time to go Ephesus and and return again, so he sent for the elders of the church to come and counsel with him. He earnestly besought them to watch, like faithful shepherds who protect the flock from prowling wolves. He reminded them how he had been earnest in his warnings night and day, and how he had wrought with his hands as a tent-maker at Corinth to minister to his own necessities and to provide for those with him. "I have shewed you all things," he said; "how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."

The teaching of Jesus to which he refers is probably that found in Luke, 14:12, 14. where Jesus advises his audience to learn the joy of hospitality by offering it to those whom it will bless, rather than to those who will be expected to return it and so make a recompense. Hospitality should be a form of ministry; whereas in its formal expression it may lose all joy because looked upon as part of a bargain. It must be clear that a sense of love, a recognition of good, a realization of abundance must first be gained before the expression of love and liberality will be natural and not forced. It is dreary work to give without having received. Christ Jesus first set forth in his teaching the scientific method for giving by showing how men could be blessed; and later he indicated that receiving must precede giving when he sent out his disciples to preach and to heal, saying, "Freely ye have received, freely give."

"We have only as we give."
February 17, 1906

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