Kevin Rutherford


While on his way back to the city of Jerusalem, Paul made a stop on the island of Miletus (Acts 20:13-38).  There met with the elders from the church at Ephesus and spoke to them about many issues.  He reviewed his own behavior, reminded the elders of their responsibilities, warned them of apostasy, and then spoke concerning material matters.  It is his conversation concerning covetousness that we want to concentrate on for just a moment.

Paul begins this part of his discussion by saying “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel” (Acts 20:33).  This is an important principle to remember when it comes to the way we think about material things. Covetousness is a greedy desire for more.  When one covets that which belongs to someone else cannot maintain an attitude of Christian love toward that other person.

The second principle brought out in this passage is that one ought to work for what he needs (Acts 20:34, 35).  We have needs that must be met by prayer to God and active working on our part.  We need flood, clothing, and shelter.  God will provide those things if we put Him first in our lives, but we must do our part by working to earn these things (Matthew 6:33). 

The third and final principle promoted by Paul concerning material possessions is that it is “more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35).  Those who give to others are happier than those who are greedy.  The greedy horde for themselves and then leave it all behind when they die.  Joy, peace, contentment, and satisfaction, are the rewards for the generous.