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The Power of Generosity – Julian the Apostate

"Atheism (Christianity) has been specially advanced through the loving service rendered to the stranger, and through their care for the burial of the dead. It is a scandal that there is not a single Jew who is a beggar and that the godless Galileans care not only for their own poor but for ours as well; while those who belong to us look in vain for the help that we should render them." – Julian

The Christians were simply more generous and caring than anyone else. They reflected the generosity of God. They didn’t just care for their own; they cared for all of those in need. This sort of generosity could not be ignored or maligned.

Our Encouragement

When we read 2 Corinthians 8-9, understanding what that church could do in poverty is inspiring. I believe that West-Ark is capable of so much – even in our economic trials. Do you?

Some may say that these aren’t the times to be bold and generous. Some might say that we need to conserve and be careful. I agree that we need to be wise and responsible, but let’s not limit God. Let’s not limit generosity. Look at the Macedonians. Think about those risky, daring Christians who changed the world.

What we need is a bold adventurous faith. Let’s excel and be bold in generosity. When you think about the way that God has been generous with us, how can we do any less?

The invitation is an invitation for us to participate in the generosity of God. It’s an invitation to see grace in action. There is power in generosity, the sort of power that can overcome empires and unite strangers.

Illustration - Putting our hand in the plate
I hope that we will give ourselves to God and then give generously. Not because I want you to give to West-Ark, but because I want you to give as West-Ark. We are not generous TO the church, we are generous AS the church. [The church is not an institution outside of ourselves].

I would be very disappointed if we withered into an isolated worship club only concerned with our own issues. God is not pleased by a church family that withdraws so far into itself that they become spiritual hermits afraid of their own shadows. Rather, he wants us to show an extraordinary kindness – even in a hostile world. That brings glory to him! God didn’t hold back when he was generous to us.

Chris Benjamin

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 16 November 2008

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