Living the Great Reversal

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive

Acts 20:35

The verse quoted above comes from Acts 20, where Paul gives a final farewell to the Elders at the church in Ephesus. In this exhortation, Paul reminds the believers to stand strong in the message He has given to them of God’s grace through Jesus Christ. He also warns them of false teachers, and reminds them here in this verse of their duty to help the weak. 

As Christians living in a me-first, materialistic driven society, it is all too common for these words Paul shares to fall short in the outworking of our day to day lives. The culture around us has set the norm, and that norm is selfish and success driven. Christians can and should desire a successful life, but the success of a Christian, much like everything Jesus taught, should flip the world’s version of success completely upside down. 

Paul reminds His audience of words that Jesus Himself spoke, “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. This idea, along with many others like it in Scripture is referred to as the Great Reversal. In these reversals, Jesus reveals how opposite the Kingdom of God functions compared to the Kingdom of this world. While the world around us hoards and accumulates possessions, Jesus tells us that the giver is even more blessed than the receiver! 

The giver is more blessed than the receiver!

So, what does it look like to be generous as a Christian? I believe there are multiple key factors that must be present as a Christian giver. First, being generous as a Christian is non-negotiable. To follow Christ means following His generosity. Philippians 2 tells us that Jesus humbled Himself completely by taking on human flesh, and He paid the ultimate price for our sins on the Cross. As followers of Christ, generosity is a requirement. Second, generosity is not something Christians should do with a heavy heart as purely an obligation, but rather giving should be done cheerfully and with reliance on Christ alone, knowing that God will care for His children. When we are generous with our time and resources, we imitate Christ, and counteract the world, leaving people wanting to know more about this loving God we serve. 

If you struggle this holiday season in finding joy in giving, know that you are not alone. The inclination to cling to financial security is not abnormal, and speaking as a full-time college student and part-time employee, the desire to stockpile any income I make is many days stronger than my desire to give. However, it is in these moments, that I am given even more of an opportunity to lean into God and recall all the seasons of life He has held me through. When I let go of my tight grip on worldly security and lean into living a life reliant on my true Sustainer, I am reminded of why I am here on this Earth in the first place. My life’s purpose as a disciple of Christ is to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever, and through a healthy view of generosity, I can cheerfully give to others, knowing my Heavenly Father will always take care of me. Reader, if you have repented and trusted in Christ, you as well can know that you have this exact same assurance! 

Our purpose is to glorify Christ!

At Advance the Faith, our goal is to build relationships that promote Christian cultures of discipleship and service. We serve both locally in Southwest Florida and overseas in the Bahamas and Haiti to spread the love and hope of Christ. As you have read this blog and reflected on what it truly means to be a cheerful giver, I want to leave you with an offer to act out this generosity. Whether that looks like giving your time through volunteering, becoming a mentor in our discipleship academy, or joining on one of our mission trips, or giving through finances to support our mission as an organization, we hope that you are encouraged to join us in Advancing the Faith for the glory of Christ alone! 

Lilly Kooper

Lilly is a Mission Studies Intern, trip participant, and Academy mentee. Studying her Master's in Divinity, Lilly assists our team in seeing the Gospel proclaimed oversees and locally.