God’s Character and Identity
«God is love.» (1 John 4:8). He has been since the beginning; love has been since the beginning. Love involves giving, and this is an important subject in the Bible that we see even from the first pages. It is part of God’s character and identity. «In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.» (Genesis 1:1) God created Adam, gave him life, and then He gave «an help meet for him..» (Genesis 2:18, KJV) and they were to «have dominion over» all the animals (Genesis 1:26) that was given to them. God also gave them plants and fruits to eat, and finally a weekly Sabbath / day of rest – the seventh day, where they could rest after a week’s labor. (See Exodus 20). This was the crown of creation – a special day and «God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it.» (Genesis 2:3)
When man fell, sin and selfishness entered the world. Many problems arose as a result, for instance poverty. But God did not forget the poor and needy among us. God that loves each and one of us, wishing us the best, told the Israelites: «If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs» (Deu 15:7-8) He that has given us so many things wants us to share with the needy. «The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness,
The world and those who dwell therein.» (Ps 24:1) We are called to be stewards and take care of everything that God has created.
The Influence of Generosity
Pastor Doug was driving from Texas to California, and asked God to give him someone to witness for. Right after, he saw a hitchhiker out in the cold. Since he has been hitchhiking many times before, he got sympathy with the hitchhiker, and picked him up. As he got in the car, he tried to get his hands warm. Doug put the heat on maximum, so that he quickly could get warm.
The hitchhiker had crossed the border between Mexico and United States, to get a better life. Doug tried to talk with him, but understood that he only spoke Spanish. He didn’t know many words in Spanish, so he asked God for help to communicate the gospel to this young man. The hitchhiker was looking for work, and Doug managed to tell him that he could help him with this. He was selling wood, and the hitchhiker was delighted to hear that he could work for him.
Doug had never spoken Spanish earlier, but when they got to California three days later, through a miracle he managed speaking Spanish enough to share the gospel with this young man! He lived together with Doug and his family, and helped with his wood business. The young man started to attend church, and was soon to get baptized. Right before his baptism, he wanted to share a testimony. He shared a gripping story that started when he was picked up by Doug in Texas. He was thinking to rob and kill him, because he could see money in his jacket pocket. Before he crossed the border he lived as a thief in Chihuahua, Mexico. He continued to explain that every time they had stopped, Doug offered to buy something for him, either food, drink, clothes or other things he needed. He just couldn’t kill him, because he was so nice, and provided for his needs!
To show someone kindness will not only help changing lives, it can even save lives!
During a hard times, a widow baked a last bread, and gave to the prophet Eliah, not knowing that she would get more flour and oil to survive. (1 Kings 17). When Jesus sent the disciples and gave them power, he said: «Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give..» (Matt 10:8) A blessing was promised God’s people if they would give to the poor: «You shall surely give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the Lord your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand. » (Deu 15:10)
Some don’t realize how much acts of kindness will count in the judgement. When Jesus summarized the law, He said: «You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.» (Matt 22:37-40). Jesus will separate the saved from the lost based on how they have loved God and their neighbor. The righteous will say: «When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’» (Matt 25:38-40) When we let Jesus live in us, we will desire to live like Him.
The Greatest Gift
As Christians, followers of Christ, His character and identity should be a part of us. Our mission is to transmit God’s character and love to others. All human beings have different needs, that we can help to meet. But we all have one need, whether we are aware of it or not: We have a need of Jesus in our lives. When we accept Christ into our lives, we just cannot help but share Him with others, in words and deeds. Doug and the hitchhiker is a good example on what can happen when we in unselfish service give to others. In that way we are a witness of Him who has saved us. Jesus spent more time meeting other people’s needs than he did preaching. He wished the best for others, showed them sympathy, met their needs, whether they were physical, mental or social. In this way He won their confidence, and bade them: «Will you follow me? Will you receive the greatest gift I want to give to you?»
«By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.» (1 Joh 3:16) Have you received this gift that Jesus wants to give you? Salvation is the greatest gift ever! If you have received it, do you wish to be a part of giving it to others, through meeting their needs, leading them to the Fountain of Life?
He who gave it all, said: «It is more blessed to give than to receive.» (Acts 20:35)
Unless otherwise stated, scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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