November 15, 2020
There’s a way to put faith into action.
How you have ever read a holiday catalog? There Sears used to send a catalog out to households in the mail, and families would use those as a shopping guide for Christmas or birthday presents. If you remember reading a catalog like that, there used to be a way to order practically anything you could ever want. People want to buy the perfect gifts for their family, but what do you get somebody who has everything?
There are few things in life that compare with giving somebody special that perfect gift. It is often difficult to pin down exactly what a person wants, even in this age of online shopping.
Elvis Presley went Cadillac shopping and bought new cars for his friends and family members–and even bought one for a stranger who happened to be shopping for a car on the same day. On that day, he spent over $170,000, and he supposedly bought over 200 Cadillacs for different people. Elvis might have understood how to give great surprise gifts.
We have this idea of “random acts of kindness” of service, volunteering, or helping others. But for some people, we need to meet their actual physical needs.
James 2:14-16 reminds us that we need to put our faith into action. It’s not enough to hope that somebody is safe, or well fed, or properly clothed, if we don’t take action and help them. The story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 is similar, because it shows somebody taking action. He feeds, clothes, and shelters the person he finds on the road.
Paul writes about some Christians from Macedonia in 2nd Corinthians 8: 1-6:
Now I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, what God in his kindness has done through the churches in Macedonia. They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.
For I can testify that they gave not only what they could afford, but far more. And they did it of their own free will. They begged us again and again for the privilege of sharing in the gift for the believers in Jerusalem. They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.
So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving.2 Corinthians 8:1-6 (NLT)
They were so generous that they gave more than they could afford. While we might be wealthier than the Macedonians, the message is still the same. If we believe, this is what we should be about.
Paul writes later that the generosity of the church in Corinth is what prodded the Macedonians to put their faith into action.
Generosity is not under duress, and it isn’t reckless or irresponsible. But it still comes from the heart, and it comes from free will. As Christians, our generosity is our currency. When we get together collectively, it helps us help more people.
Even in spite of the challenges of 2020 and covid-19, Christians should be known for their generosity. God is still providing from his generosity, to encourage you to be generous as well.