He Kept Back Nothing
Acts 18:9 - Acts 22:4
In the book of Acts we read of a man name Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, who were members of the church. They sold a piece of property and promised to lay the money they earned from that property at the feet of the Apostles. However, at the last minute they decided to keep back a portion instead of giving all.
Compare that with the pattern of discipleship found characterized in the life of Paul. He served the Lord with all humility, with many tears, with love in his heart. He walked from house to house, gathering with true followers in upper chambers. Lights burned as he talked a long while, often until midnight. Bound in the spirit he went, so that he might finish his course with joy. At all seasons. Night and day with tears.
This heart of a humble disciple held much. “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus,” He taught, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) Paul knew this, and knowing, he gave. At all seasons. For three years.
Then, heart breaking, he explained that he must leave. Bonds and afflictions waited for him. An angel told him he would not see these people again. “And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more.” (Acts 20:36-38)
Nor more the midnight gatherings. No more the talking a long while. No more the embracing.
Just now, the tears.
He said unto them, “Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons. Serving the Lord with all humility…and with many tears…and how I kept back nothing.” (Acts 20:18-20)
From the first day…how I kept back nothing.
The midnights. The tears. The talking a long while.
There is a difference between giving and giving all, between one who keeps back a portion and one who keeps back nothing.
These are the characteristics of a true follower of Christ.
Paul knew about these differences. His life was filled with sacrifice, with giving all. Every day and every night.
He kept back nothing.