Generosity as witness

There’s an intriguing phrase in Acts 2:47 that describes the church in Jerusalem as “having favor with all the people.”

What exactly were these early Christians doing that brought them such esteem? The preceding verses tell us:

And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts. (vv. 45-46)

When unbelievers witnessed the generosity of these believers, they saw how they loved one another. Many came to faith partly through the power and integrity of this refreshing alternative to materialism: “And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved” ( v. 47). Their generosity demonstrated the life-changing power of the gospel. While being attracted to the generous giving of Jesus-followers, unbelievers were attracted to the gospel of Jesus.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians 8:1: “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia.” How was God’s grace demonstrated? Through their giving to needy Christians. In verse 6, Paul calls the Macedonians’ giving to help the hungry in Jerusalem an “act of grace.” The same Greek word is used for Christian giving and for God’s grace.

Christ’s grace motivates and puts in perspective our giving: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich” (verse 9).

As thunder follows lightning, giving follows grace. When the lightning of God’s grace strikes us, the joyful giving of our time, talents, and treasures should follow.

Read the full story at Tabletalk.

Photo: Felix Mittermeier, Unsplash

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