5 Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:
"Don't begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don't try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. 6 Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. 7 Tell them that the kingdom is here. 8 Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.
9" Don't think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start. 10 You don't need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light.
You have been treated generously, so live generously...
Generous living. Some people are such graceful examples of this. Christ lived generously.
My thoughts are drawn to a specific area of generous living, that of our hearts and emotions. Our culture puts self first, others second. If someone hurts us, we are taught to protect ourselves and build walls so they may not enter into the venerable realm of our hearts again. This can severely stunt generous living. Generosity is giving above and beyond, and when you are withholding yourself from loving others with your whole heart, generosity is crippled.
Jesus lived generously. Over and over again. He gave his time generously, he healed generously...but the most outstanding act of generosity in his daily life that stands out to me, is his love and acceptance of one man whom he knew, from the beginning, would betray him at the end. And yet, he allowed this man into his inner circle. He called him. He loved him. Judas.
Judas is brought up several times with the obvious statement that lets us know that his sin of betrayal was premeditated and contemplated. One such reference is in John 12:4-" Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, even then getting ready to betray him..."
That is generous living. He didn't guard his heart or words from Judas. And the whole time Jesus KNEW what was coming.
Another example of generous living is discussed in Matthew 10:41-42:
41 Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God's messenger. Accepting someone's help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I've called you into, but don't be overwhelmed by it. It's best to start small. 42 Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won't lose out on a thing."
This generosity is smaller, simpler, but just as important. We are all called to live generously, and even the small generosities matter. Jesus tells us that it is a large work, but to start small. You don't have to begin your life of generous living by loving your 'Judas' right this minute. It is character built up over time, through acts of generous living, and a constant giving of yourself to the Lord. Until one day, you find yourself able to love the Judas' of the world, because Christ loves them too.
Thursday, May 19, 2011