Blessing The Lord And Others Through Generosity
By Rich Carmicheal
Our God is full of generosity, even to the point of utmost sacrifice. He is a Heavenly Father who knows how to give good gifts to those who ask Him (Matt. 7:11); He gives generously to all without finding fault (Jas. 1:5); He meets needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19); He lavishes on us the riches of His grace (Eph. 1:7-8); He pours out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5); and the list goes on and on. Of course, the greatest expression of His generosity and sacrifice is the fact that He did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for our salvation (Rom. 8:32).
Since this is the nature of our Heavenly Father, it is not at all surprising that He puts it in our hearts to be generous and sacrificial. In the Book of Acts, we read how the early Christians overflowed with generosity and sold their possessions to help others in need (Acts 2:45; 4:34). The Apostle Paul lifts up the example of the grace-filled Christians in Macedonia who, even in the midst of severe trial and poverty, welled up in rich generosity. They gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded for the privilege of sharing in service to the saints, giving themselves first of all to the Lord, and then to others (see 2 Cor. 8:1-5).
The Lord loves to see His generous and sacrificial character reflected in His children. He "loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7). He takes such giving to heart and sees it as an expression of love not only toward others, but also toward Himself. He will not forget "…the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them" (Heb. 6:10). This help comes in all different forms including financial help, spiritual encouragement, prayer support, acts of service, and so forth.
The ministry of Herald of His Coming is blessed to provide Gospel materials free of charge because of the generosity of the Lord and of His people who offer their generous and sacrificial support. We realize the significance of every gift, and we deeply appreciate the friends who give cheerfully, generously and sacrificially toward this ministry. Many brothers and sisters in Christ receive Herald materials only because of the generosity of others, and their letters often express their appreciation for those who give on their behalf. This reminds us of Second Corinthians 9:12: "This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God."
Blessing Nations One Person at a Time
As one example of the blessing your generosity is to others, please take to heart this letter the Herald office received recently from a brother in Africa:
"I would like to thank Almighty God for His kindness, love and care. I want to thank Him for giving me a friend from abroad, a far away friend which is remembering me each and every month, that is, Herald of His Coming. The Herald paper has turned to be a good friend to me because I am encouraged, assisted and supported spiritually when I read it. I am receiving each and every month, this can not be taken for granted as there are some people who are assisting so that a person like me, who is based far away should be one of the beneficiaries. Our Almighty God should bless all the volunteers and all the people who are assisting in any way or any means.... I really appreciate your kindness and support."
What a privilege it is anytime the Lord allows His grace to flow through you or me toward another person for his or her physical and spiritual benefit! I cannot help but think of the friends who assist the Herald ministry in various ways – those who pray, send gifts, share materials or offer other forms of encouragement. The Lord works through every act of grace and generosity to touch the lives of others! Praise the Lord for His grace and His power!
Our brother goes on in his letter to describe the impact our mutual ministry can have upon nations:
"…The time has dawned that we sons of God should join hands to pray for our world. The power of the devil all the time tries to tarnish the image of the Good News, but I know with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, righteousness will win. The light is spreading toward darkness and darkness is shunning away as the Gospel is entering into forbidden lands.... As for now we need to pray for all nations which reject justice and which are continuing to serve idols...instead of serving the Almighty God and His Son Jesus Christ…."
Our brother’s encouragement is one of many indications of the Lord’s deep burden for the nations. Other indications include efforts to share the Gospel throughout the earth, especially to unreached people groups, and prayer movements such as the Global Day of Prayer which unites Christians from around the world to pray for their own nation and for other nations. The Lord desires that all men be saved (1 Tim. 1:3-4), and so it is very much on His heart that His love and salvation impact all nations. His burden for the nations is revealed in passages such as these:
"...and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you" (Gen. 12:3).
"...for My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations" (Isa. 56:7).
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth" (Psalm 46:10).
"…You were slain, and with Your blood You purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation" (Rev. 5:9).
"Ascribe to the LORD , O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; bring an offering and come into His courts. Worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness; tremble before Him, all the earth. Say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns...’" (Psalm 96:7-10).
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations..." (Matt. 28:19).
As "the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13) draws ever nearer, it should not be surprising that our Lord is calling His people to turn more of their attention to prayer and ministry toward other nations. To this end, the Herald staff thanks those friends who help this ministry share the message of the Lord in about 140 countries in a variety of languages. We offer praise to the Lord for His grace in allowing this ministry to share with these nations salvation and revival materials that help reach the lost and encourage the Church in the areas of repentance, revival, prayer, holiness and evangelism. Although the scope of the Herald’s outreach is very small compared to the size of the world, we praise the Lord for allowing this ministry to play a part in the much greater work He is doing through various individuals, churches and ministries. And we rejoice that He is "able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…!" (Eph. 3:20).