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33 I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. 34 Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” 36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, 38 sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship.

 

Acts 20:33-37 explains how Paul personally conducted himself in ministry and his desire for the elders to follow his example.

20:33

I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel.

During Paul’s three-year stay in Ephesus, he coveted no one’s wealth. He was not a money-oriented preacher.

20:34

Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me.

The Ephesian elders knew that Paul worked with his own hands to provide for his necessities and even met the financial needs of others with him.

20:35

I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak.

Concluding his speech to the Ephesian elders, Paul claimed he worked with his hands to support those who could not help themselves.

And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.‘”

To establish his point that he wanted to help the “weak,” he referred to an affirmation of the Lord Jesus, “‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.‘” This is not a quote from the New Testament but a saying from His life on earth.

20:36

And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all.

After finishing his speech to the Ephesian elders, Paul knelt down and prayed with them all.

20:37

Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him,

Now that Paul was leaving the elders, he would never see them again. This event was an emotional occasion when they all wept openly and kissed him goodbye.

20:38

sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship.

The Ephesian elders grieved over Paul’s words and that they would see him no more. They walked with the apostle to the ship.

PRINCIPLE:

Example is a good model of leadership.

APPLICATION:

Example is a theme many New Testament leaders used to set a pattern for those who follow (Jn 13:15; Acts 1:1; 1 Co 4:16; 11:1; Php 3:17; 4:19; 1 Th 1:6; He 13:7; 1 Pe 5:3; 1 Tim 4:12). A Christian leader who sets a good example does not covet material things. He needs resources to sustain himself and his family, but that is not his focus (Mt 6:24; He 13:5; 1 Tim 3:3; Tit 1:7). Love of material things characterizes false teachers (Tit 1:11; 2 Pe 2:3).

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