Question: Are we supporting the weak?
“I have coveted
silver or gold or apparel.
“Yes, you yourselves know
that these hands have provided
for my necessities,
and for those who were with me.
“I have shown
in every way,
by laboring like this,
that you must support the weak.
of the Lord Jesus,
that He said,
‘It is more blessed to give
than to receive.’ ”
This is Paul’s bookend instructions of his farewell address to the Ephesian Elders before he departed. In his speech, Paul spoke to them about humility, repentance, faith, the race, the grace, the whole counsel of God, watching over the flock, false teachers, and now he teaches the elders to not covet, to work with their own hands so they can give and support the weak.
Are we supporting the weak?
I think there are two groups represented in this passage that Paul considered weak.
First, the men with him were financially weak. Paul said that his hands provided not only for his own needs, but also for the needs of those that were with him. We know Luke was a physician, so possible he could make a living as he traveled; however, some of the other co-workers were dependent upon Paul for their necessities. How about us? Are we supporting those who are dependent upon us, such as, our immediate family ?
Second, the Ephesians themselves were weak. They were weak in their knowledge of God and in their faith. Paul did not want to hinder their faith by taking of their physical things for his physical support and the support of his team. The act of receiving support from them could have made them suspicious and resentful of Paul and of his message. Also, since Paul is teaching the Ephesian elders to give to others in verse 35, we can deduce that there were some weak and poor Ephesians that needed physical support. Paul is teaching the elders to not only be ready to feed the flock with spiritual food, but to labor that they will also be ready to feed themselves and others with physical food. How about us? Can we help not only those who are dependent upon us, such as immediate family, but can we also give to those in need around us?
Imagine how the Ephesian church must have had confidence in their elders because Paul taught them to be laborers and givers. I surely do not see that these elders were dependent upon their flock, but Paul’s example to the elders was for them to provide for themselves, to labor in work and in the word of grace, and to be a giver to others.
What a great example for elders today!
What a great example for men today.
See my related message, Should pastors get a job?
Should Pastors Get a Job? Acts 18 verses 1-3 | Small Group Bible Study
God bless, Bob