Wednesday, September 15, 2010

On Being Generous

2 Corinthians 9:11 - You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

Generosity has been a Christian virtue from the earliest days of the church. Even in today's difficult economic times, those who are down-and-out can depend on church-based food pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, job ministries, and even emergency monetary assistance. Recently, when one of the church-supported food banks in my community ran low on supplies, word was spread to all denominations in our area. Needless to say, the outpouring of food and financial donations was immediate and voluminous, and the food bank was up and running again in no time. Christians can be counted upon, time and again, to be cheerful, thankful givers.

That being said, you can imagine my shock and dismay when, following a friend's comment thread on Facebook, I read that around 100 church members descended on a restaurant for their Sunday repast and either tipped poorly or left nothing at all. Yes, I could conclude that with this large a crowd, service was probably slower than usual and, perhaps, some orders were confused. Even if this group had made a reservation, which, as I inferred from the waitress' comment, they had not, that is an unwieldy number for a restaurant to accommodate under any circumstance. If you have ever worked as a waiter or waitress, I don't need to tell you how much prep work must be done before the restaurant opens each day and after it closes each night and that you only earn half of minimum wage for all your hard labor; you depend on tips for your livelihood. It's difficult for me to believe that not one person in that church group understood this fact. What is far worse and immensely tragic is that these Christians came to have their hunger satisfied and their thirst slaked by servers, more likely than not, in need of the bread of life and the living water. Instead, they were left with a bitter taste in their mouths and a meager pittance toward paying their bills.

In a hurting and broken world in which sentiment against Christianity sadly grows, how do we communicate the love, grace, mercy, and redemption we find in our Lord Jesus Christ? By our actions and attitude, every day and in every way. Some Christians, like those mentioned above, dress in their Sunday best for church, but are content to be rag-tag the other six days of the week. How would these behaviors ever make others long for a personal relationship with God? Let us don our Sunday best every day of the week, taking the joys and blessings of the worship experience out into the world, letting our light shine upon all whom we encounter. Our actions and our attitudes should ever be a witness to the great gift we have in Christ Jesus. Indeed, by laying down His life for our sins, He has shown us the ultimate in generosity.

Are you willing, are you ready to be generous with His love?

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