Generosity that Leads to Caring for Others

Posted: August 30, 2011 
Filed under: Deep Thoughts with Pastor Jeff, Money, Pastor Jeff, Prayer, Spiritual
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Generosity is part of kindness and love. It’s not about money. It’s about freedom from the love of money above the love of God. Jesus often alluded to priorities when referring to the kingdom of God. In chapter 25 of the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus spoke about the wicked servant who didn’t properly steward his master’s investment. That servant cared more about his own safety than earning returns for his master. He wouldn’t think of taking the risk required with investing. Instead, he hid the money in the ground; allowing it to stay hidden rather than reap even the tiny return the money would have gotten in a low interest checking account. Jesus then spoke of dividing sheep and goats at the throne. He spoke of being able to identify His children as those who gave back to Him by ministering to others. Here’s the passage from Matthew 25:34-40 –

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

I was reminded of this passage while reading an ancient prayer credited to Clement (the first) around A.D. 99. The prayer reads:

We beseech Thee, Master, to be our helper and protector.
Save the afflicted among us; have mercy on the lowly;
Raise up the fallen; appear to the needy; heal the ungodly;
Restore the wanderers of Thy people; feed the hungry;
Ransom our prisoners; raise up the sick; comfort the faint-hearted.

I recall reading something by Henri Nouwen in which he talked about being unable to enter into the lives of the hurting without risk of experiencing that hurt ourselves. We can’t listen to their stories without risk of being emotionally moved, perhaps to action. We can’t contemplate the tragedy of someone else’s life without losing some peace of mind ourselves. I believe that’s true, even in prayer. When I commit to praying for someone, I enter into their joys and sorrows.

The reality of a situation is inexplicably linked to the intangible elements, like prayer, that circle around the moment unseen. Prayer is real. Generosity is caring. Walking through life with others who have needs can be life-changing for you. Why not give it a try?

The Unexamined Life and All…

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