Almost all of us have experienced the generosity of a friend, family member, neighbor, or co-worker. Generosity is powerful. Generosity tears down walls. Generosity is hard to resist.
There is a theme throughout Jesus' teachings & the New Testament to be generous with no-strings-attached. In Luke 6:32-36, Jesus moves people to that standard by saying:
- Love your enemies.
- Do good to those who can't or won't do good to you.
- Lend money without expecting to be repaid.
Then in Luke 6:35, Jesus lays out the reason why we are to be generous "you will truly be acting as children of the Most High". God's generosity toward us causes us to be generous toward our neighbors. This type of generosity was not common in Jesus' day, in fact it was a complete paradigm shift. These people knew "liberalitas" - to give to get something in return. There was no reason to help those who couldn't return the favor, but Jesus said NOT so in my Kingdom. The Jesus follower's reason for generosity is because God has been so generous to us.
Historians tell us the early Christians lived extraordinarily generous lives even though,
- They had NO wealth.
- They had NO building.
- They had NO voice.
- They had NO political power.
When plagues would hit a village, the Christians were the only ones to stay and care for the sick. When famines would threaten to devastate families, the Christians would give what little food they had to feed those who were hungry. When the pagan poor had no one to care for them, the Christians would care for them, so much so that the Roman Emperor Julian would take notice!
In Philippians 2:15, Paul describes how that type of generosity can impact those around us, "Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky". That kind of generosity can still capture the hearts of people today.
The challenge for this week is to be generous by supporting our Food Drive by bringing canned goods to our Lobby this Sunday 11/27.