Acts 20:33-34–“I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me.”
In this chapter, Paul commends preaching the gospel. He describes who to depend on for spiritual blessings – the providence of God and the promises of the Word of God’s grace. With this dependence, we begin to develop an indifference to this world and every thing in it, just like Paul. But, what about providing food and necessities for our family? Paul advises us to follow his example of living:
1. Paul never aimed at worldly wealth (Acts 20:33) –
There were many in the church who were wealthy and made a very good appearance. Paul did not have that ambition. He did not look at the rich and long for their things; he neither condemned nor envied them. Paul felt “I can live comfortably and usefully without living great”. False apostles desired to make a fair show in the flesh. (Gal. 6:12) It is important to show up dressed smart to represent as a child of God. Anything beyond this can be counted as extra, a want, and is not really a necessity.
2. Paul was not greedy to receive from the wealthy. He neither craved nor coveted these things. He didn’t desire to be paid for his work and made protests against a gift (Phil. 4:17). Paul was very content with all that he had and never made gain of them.(2 Cor. 12:17). If we obey and seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, “all the things will be added unto you”. Blessings from God will follow us.
3. Paul had worked hard for his living.(Acts 20:34) He cut out and made up tents of leather. Paul could be considered poor in worldly things, though rich in blessings. Paul presented, ‘these hands that ministered to my necessities’ especially to ministers and evangelists, so that they wouldn’t be shocked if neglected. He wanted to show them that, less encouragement that they got from men meant more they would have from God. Paul worked hard to support those with him. Though he was a scholar and could have earned a good living, he wanted to illustrate that earning necessities was enough rather than all our wants.
We earn to provide for ourselves and our families. Whatever we earn in excess of this is God’s additional blessing that we should ideally be giving back for God’s work: to the local church, to the poor and needy and to whomever else God has put in our heart for us to bless.