Shonebarger

Paul, the beloved missionary church planter, was focused on sailing to Ephesus to bid farewell to the elders of the church. His ultimate destination was Jerusalem. He was determined to fulfill a burning desire to visit Jerusalem, even though he was warned by the Holy Spirit to not go. But before he arrived in Jerusalem, there was a message to deliver to his beloved fellow servants.

Paul was a man of devotion, commitment and passionate purpose. He would not be deterred! There was not an obstacle he would not conquer to be faithful to God. He was steadfast and unmovable in his convictions.

For Paul, life was binary. It was all about serving Jesus while dying was to gain eternal life. To be in the presence of the Lord he served was his ultimate desire. The fearless soldier of Christ boldly proclaimed that God had not given us a spirit of fear, but power, love, and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7). This spiritual provision would enable Paul to impact people for the Kingdom of God.

The visit to Ephesus would serve as a reminder to these church leaders of the principles of his humble service. Read Acts 20:17-38. Paul exhorted them to stay strong and faithful in their ministry; to take heed to themselves and the flock; to feed that flock the Word of God and to stay vigilant against grievous wolves that would subtly enter the church to destroy the work of God. He reminded them to be mindful of his sacrifice, resilience, and purpose driven example. Paul taught others to follow him as he followed Christ. What an honorable and godly role model.

As the beloved man of God concludes his impassioned message, he reflects with this statement:

“I have shewed you all things, 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.” (Acts 20:35). As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, it is important to ponder this exemplary reminder of servant leadership.

God’s plan for his people is to serve others. His time for us to serve is today. God’s purpose is for us to kneel beside the fallen, to meet the needs of the naked, the homeless, the hungry and the prisoner. In addition, the weak, the sick, the dying, the orphan, and widow. We are to lay down our lives for our friends, if necessary. To give our time and treasure is the greatest demonstration of the love of God we show.

It is more blessed to give than to receive. The fulfillment one finds through random acts of kindness. Benevolent gifts fill the heart with the recognition that God has used us as His hands, feet, and lips. Compassion burns deep within the soul of a servant leader. Giving is what God the Father did in offering His Son as the Savior of the world. Giving is responding to the sound of the heartbeat of God. Praying for the poor is necessary, however, meeting the need through writing a check is the fulfillment of that prayer. God uses people!

While we all can thank God for His provision in our lives this Thanksgiving, let us also be thankful for what God gave us so we could pass it along to the needy. We cannot out give God! We give to God through His church to meet the needs of foreign and local missions. God gives back much more to us.

There have been times when we have all been on the receiving side of a gift. We were grateful for the provision and satisfying our needs. But to see the face of the one who received a gift is joy unspeakable. The greater blessing is in giving.

As we survey our community, state, and nation, let us see the need and determine to give, by faith, our resources to meet the needs. Together, we can be Jesus’ hands, feet, and mouth. Have a charitable week and remember, God loves YOU!

Contact Jon at jtshonebarger@gmail.com.

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