As he is preparing to leave the Ephesian elders he leaves them with both departing words and a reminder of his time with them:
“I have desired no one’s silver or gold or clothing. You yourselves know that these hands of mine provided for my needs and the needs of those who were with me. By all these things, I have shown you that by working in this way we must help the weak, and remember the words of the Lord Jesus that he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
When he had said these things, he knelt down with them all and prayed. They all began to weep loudly, and hugged Paul and kissed him, especially saddened by what he had said, that they were not going to see him again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.”
(Acts 20.33-38, NET)
Understandably, given that they were not going to see him again, the Ephesian elders were sad to see Paul go. The departing words, quoting Jesus, would serve to inspire their ministry: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
Working hard everywhere he went, Paul wanted others to follow this example (v.35a). There is satisfaction and a contentment to be found when we are working hard for others that is deeper, richer, and longer lasting than when we seek to look after ourselves first.
I love what David Guzik wrote on this, a great thought to carry into today:
“He wasn’t in it for himself, but for God’s glory and for the building up of God’s people.”