Christian generosity

The apostle Paul was planning to visit the Christians in Corinth. Among the reasons he was going back was to receive funds they were collecting to give to Christians in Judea to assist the poor (see Romans 15 as well). He had received word that they were not ready. So Paul included in his letter to them a prompt to be ready when he came and used the Christians in Macedonia as an example to spur them on.

“Brothers, we want you to know how God has bestowed his grace on the congregations in Macedonia. Though in a severe ordeal of afflictions, and in deep poverty, their overflowing joy abounded in rich generosity. According to their ability and beyond, on their own, they begged us earnestly to allow them the privilege of sharing in the needs of the saints. This was beyond our expectation, but they had given themselves first to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God. Therefore, we urged Titus, that as he had made a beginning, he might complete this grace in you.” (2 Corinthians 8:1-6 McCord)

Continue reading “Christian generosity”

Entertaining strangers

“Do not forget to entertain strangers. . . ” (Hebrews 13:2 NKJV).

We were not exactly strangers, since we had visited with Subi’s family before, but we were definitely foreigners. After a long drive to reach their village we came into their garden (as they call their “yards” in Asia) to find carpenters working on a new bed. They told us that they knew the old bed in the room we would stay in was too small for us so they wanted us to have more space.

These are not wealthy people, in fact they are by any standards very poor. But they not only wanted to share what they had with others, they wanted to provide even better than what they had used for themselves. I learned a new standard of hospitality, one that I believe is much closer to the teaching of Scripture than our Western conception, which is more likely to involve a polite offer of a cup of coffee than anything approaching inconvenience or sacrifice on the part of the host. Continue reading “Entertaining strangers”

Being a generous giver

At the end of 1 Corinthians, Paul asked the Christians in Corinth to have the funds ready for the famine relief in Judea. When he wrote the letter of 2 Corinthians, he still had not been by to pick up this collection – and he was afraid that they still wouldn’t be ready (read 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, especially 2 Corinthians 9:5).

Although this was a one-off collection to help Christians in a country far away, probably Christians they never would meet, there are a number of principles that should be part of our lives as Christians and in particular as Christians who are generous. Continue reading “Being a generous giver”