An excerpt from the E-book, Global Transmission, Global Mission
Taken from the chapter, “Christian Testimony in a Time of Pandemic”
Christian generosity is a powerful witness.
Whether in the local shopfront church and soup kitchen or on the far-off mission field, whether to friends and neighbours in need, or to global initiatives, Christians have an opportunity to demonstrate a spirit of generosity in this season of economic recession and global crisis. We are not meant to pridefully put it on display to stoke our own egos, but we are to let our lights shine before men so that they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven (Matt 5:16). Most of us are all good with Jesus’ advice to go to our prayer closets and keep our spirituality tucked away there. But here, Jesus’ instructions to His followers are explicitly that we should shine our lights with high visibility. Why? So that they might see our good works! What a great chance we have to run against the instinct to selfishness and be extravagantly open and transparent in our giving.
Perhaps I have just never paid enough attention to it myself, but I have often wondered why the centrality of generosity in the New Testament Church is not emphasized more. We know how the believers had all things in common and were “selling their possessions and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need”. (Acts 2:44-45) This generosity was bookended by many signs and wonders being done, by awe upon every soul, by warm fellowship at the temple and in homes, and by Christians having favour with all the people and God adding to their number day by day. Generosity is part of revival!
Moreover, in Acts 11:27-30, we see the Church in Antioch respond to a global famine by exercising generosity to their less affluent brethren in Judea. Paul’s own ministry prominently featured taking up a collection from Gentile churches to present to the poor believers in Jerusalem. What became of this collection is not known for certain, but it certainly appears to be high among Paul’s priorities. The exercise of generosity in the global church, where those who have more share with those who have less, feels like a blind spot in today’s Christianity – or perhaps not so much a blind spot as an awkward subject best left unmentioned.
I am convinced that Christians being radically generous to our brothers and sisters in need – yes locally, but absolutely also abroad in the places of greatest need – is a powerful witness of the good news to the unbelieving world. It debunks false notions held by many non-Christians. It is a testimony to the reality that we are truly part of a global family of faith. It is a testimony that we are not obsessed with the pursuit of wealth or controlled by mammon as much of the world is. It is a testimony that we belong to a cause that is much greater than ourselves, for which we surrender our own ease. It is a testimony to our freedom in Christ, that Jesus has transformed us such that we can give liberally and with joy.
To read more of this, you can download the free e-book, Global Transmission, Global Mission, here: http://covid-19.operationworld.org/global-transmission-global-mission/?fbclid=IwAR1qgoZxYIOgPUavG5N26xxGgWSd7R9YQe5_fepwsdFLBn97lZgDfg78KrM
Mandryk, Jason. Global Transmission, Global Mission – the Impact and Implications of Covid-19 Pandemic., e-Book, Operation World, 2020.