Christian Generosity

10629806_10152802987771502_2627790586416661400_nWe watched a portion of a TV travel show about flying over southern Italy.  It was very beautiful and the ancient ruins were visible in great detail from the areal perspective.  As they flew over Rome the great Roman Catholic cathedral of Saint Peter was pointed out as the seat of Catholic religion.  I thought, “if someone were in great need, this would be a place where help could be counted upon”. Then I qualified myself, although one may need to be a member of the Catholic church.

That reminded me of an incident when I  was attending University.  My parents had provided me with an older car they had once used and we’re paying the insurance…on it for me.  I worked during the summer to pay for my tuition, room and board.  In the dormitory where I resided I was having a conversation with a fellow resident regarding my recent spiritual experiences with the Holy Spirit.  I shared with him the joy, promises, and lovingkindness of God which had been shown to me; he seemed to ignore the spiritual significance and implications, but said, “If you’re a Christian let me use your car”. I asked him where he needed to go and for what purpose, to which he replied, “I want to take my friends out for a drive.”  I suspected this would include drinking, given my knowledge of his behavior and that of his friends. I didn’t have money sufficient  to just drive around myself with no purpose, and being a mere acquaintance rather than close friend, I declined his request.  He responded that if I were a true Christian, I would let him have my car, and if not, I was no real Christian.  That ended the discussion, but I contemplated his hypothesis seriously for a long while.

I knew that Jesus had said, give to everyone who asks of you, and that we are to love others. However, I could not resolve the picture in my mind explaining to my parents why I had given my car to a fellow student such as this merely to destroy; for that is what I highly expected to be the result.  Because my parents were paying the insurance, I felt there was a trust relationship in that respect.  However, when it came down to it I had no faith in God to do this. My acquaintance had no interest in God’s goodness or becoming a Christian, but taking advantage of one certainly had its appeal.  If I was wrong in this because I lacked faith to trust God for any outcome or was merely cheap or fearful, then I did not clearly hear from God and lost a reward in heaven, but it did not separate me from God’s love or salvation.  Moreover, I never claimed that I was good, only that God had been very good to me.

Many years later some of our dear friends shared with us about a family they met that was serving God in a unique way.  Our friends had become well acquaintance with them and felt the Lord’s leading to give their vehicle for their use.  So, the ministry family took their vehicle and headed out.  Our friends missed having their vehicle as it was just big enough for their entire family, while there other vehicles were too small.  After quite a long time our friends discovered that the ministry family was not maintaining any insurance on this vehicle.  They inquired and didn’t receive a reply, eventually they had to retrieve their vehicle with the assistance of the authorities, since they held the title and would be liable for any damages to others.  It had been their understanding that the ministers were responsible for any liability arising from use of the vehicle.

To me, our friends had demonstrated faith in God.  They also kept true to the substance of their faith.  So, we are not constrained beyond our faith.  If persecution comes as it did to the First Century Church, it is commendable if one by faith is martyred.  However, if others flee the persecution and by faith carry the Good news to other regions they are not condemned.  If one has faith to eat whatever food is set before them that is well, but if another has no faith to eat it, that person should not eat.  So, we are to live by faith and each of us have differences in our faith for how we exercise faith in this life. (Rom. 12:3-5).

We are not to judge each other and we are not to go beyond our faith, such that those who eat do so to God, and those who do not eat, do not eat to God’s glory. (1 Cor. 10:25-31).  As to giving we are to do so cheerfully and not grudgingly or under compulsion. (2 Cor. 9:7).  Some of the most difficult situations we face is how to express love to our family members when they are trapped in a trying circumstances.  This calls for deep intercession and a close walk with God.  Let’s commit to follow Messiah Yeshua in faith, lifting everything up to Him in prayer and asking for ears to hear His voice in every situation.  Lord, deliver your people from a double mind and lead us by your Spirit to love in your timing and your ways and means.

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