January 17th – A Giving Church



In the last couple of days we’ve been looking at that simple sentence which tells us when the disciples of Jesus first got the nickname of ‘Christians’. It was at Antioch. We noted that one reason was their Christ-like generosity. They were a giving community, not a greedy, grasping one. Well it was much more than money that they gave. Something far more valuable than cash. At Antioch they gave people! Their very best people. Most churches I know would be thrilled to have the two greatest preachers in the world as their resident teachers.And they were at Antioch, but they did not say ‘Heavens, we’d better pay these men more or we might lose them’. No. They discussed things, prayed about them, and then paid for these two great preachers to leave them to go and preach to the world which did not know Jesus, nor his good news. They were the first missionary sending church in history. That means that they provided the means for their missionary party to travel by land and sea, with the good news which sets people free, and brings joy and faith to the pagan world of poverty and despair. No wonder they called them Christians at Antioch.They gave away their best to a needy world. In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
A prayer; Write in our hearts Lord your will that when we keep the best for ourselves we lose it. When we share it, we are enriched beyond measure.
Now read all of Acts Chapter 13
A thought: When Christians give lavishly the world says: ‘What a waste!’ Do Christians ever echo this blasphemy?

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Thought 4 The Day

Before Christ, a man loves things and uses people; after Christ he loves people and uses things. (H. Wood)

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