Generosity Reigns Supreme at Oak Chapel
The gifts are piling up under the Chrismon Tree in the Sanctuary, and Christmas is still two weeks away! How wonderful it is to be associated with such a kind, caring, and compassionate congregation! You have given freely and generously to a young homeless couple and their two infant children even though you do not know them and probably never will, at least not in this lifetime.
Loving and caring for our neighbors, especially the ones with the greatest need, is perhaps the most basic and essential decrees of Christ’s ministry. There are numerous references throughout Scripture about the importance of looking out for “the least among us,” even before Jesus came into the world.
In Psalm 41:1-3, for example, we read this: “Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him; the Lord protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies. The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.” Clearly, the Lord values those who reach out to and care for the poor.
Elsewhere in Scripture, the Book of Proverbs addresses the issue in several passages, including this stern message from Proverbs 21:13 — “Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered,” as well as this encouragement from Proverb 22:9 — “Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.”
Further inspiration comes to us from the Gospels, beginning with Matthew 10:42 where we read, “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward,” and then Luke 21:1-4, which relates a very familiar story: “Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, [then] he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins and said, ‘Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’”
And finally, there is this from I Timothy 6:17-19, “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.”
Indeed, we are advised to put our full faith and trust in the Lord God Almighty, and allow Him to direct us in our generosity toward others, for in this way we will lift up those in need while being richly blessed by the Lord Himself.
Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John