21 OCTOBER 365 Days with Calvin

Working to Give

Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Ephesians 4:28

suggested further reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:9–12

Paul proceeds one step further regarding the change that he requires of the faithful. He tells them they must not only abstain from defrauding other people and from robbing them of their goods, but they must also try to help those in need.

The way the apostle teaches us to abstain from all evil seems to be very hard. Rather than living at our ease, as we have been accustomed to do, and having many goods, we should prepare to scratch our living out of the earth, work with great pain and travail, and in all of that to fare very harshly. Though this way seems very hard, we must go further. When we have the means to make a living without using wicked practices, we must spare something of what God gives us through his blessing and give it to relieve the needy.

Therefore, let us not regard our own inclinations, considering that of our own nature we are so perverse and wedded to our own profit that each one of us will always be well stocked. Since we have so little concern for others, even if they are members of the body of our Lord Jesus Christ, we must strive to force ourselves to do them good, for that striving will bring us together.

We must bear down upon our affections, then employ ourselves earnestly and sincerely until we confess that the bread we eat comes to us from God’s hand. We are sustained by his goodness as by a father who gives a portion to his children. So let us labor to do good with the little we have and to help those who are in need.

for meditation: We need Jesus to give us eyes to see the needs of others and hearts willing to work hard, not for our own gain, but for others. Giving to others is not our natural inclination, but Paul believes that the gospel is strong enough to turn even those who were thieves into compassionate and generous people. Is this evidenced in your life?[1]

 

[1] Calvin, J., & Beeke, J. R. (2008). 365 Days with Calvin (p. 313). Leominster; Grand Rapids, MI: Day One Publications; Reformation Heritage Books.

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