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Acts 20:32–36 ‘You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 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.”’ (vv34–35) 

Serving God and others is the heartbeat of Christian discipleship (Mark 12:29–31). we shall explore what this means as we seek to make a God-shaped difference in the world. Paul’s clear: we’re to take personal responsibility for ourselves, but not at the expense of living in mutual support with others, i.e. community. God’s given us everything and encourages us to rely on His grace moment by moment. 

Paul confirms his needs have been met, even if at times he experienced apparent poverty and risk (Phil. 4:12). Determining our values, our underlying ideals, provide the primary motivators that drive our decisions and focus our life goals. As we set out, I would like us all to adopt Paul’s statement, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’,  repeating Jesus’ own instruction (Luke 6:38). 

The 2021 Edelman Trust  Barometer, an annual, global report, revealed that the world had entered ‘a new era of information bankruptcy and a trust ecosystem unable to confront it’ after conducting more than 33,000 online surveys in 28 countries in 2020. If trust is lost, the freedoms we appreciate also disappear, and society struggles to function. 

God invites us to live by our word, to practise integrity in every situation, even when it appears to discriminate against us. Taking Jesus at His word will prove challenging; however if we cannot, then we face the serious question,  what trust can we place in God and Scripture? 

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Deut. 16:13–17; Mal. 3:6–12; 2 Cor. 8:1–9; Heb. 13:1–8. 

AN ACTION TO TAKE: Serving can appear challenging because it puts other people first. Do you see this attitude in the life of Jesus? What stories illustrate this?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, encourage me through the life of Jesus to be eager to serve rather than to be served. Amen.’

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.