Ever wonder how sunscreen works? What makes scented, greasy lotion slathered onto skin able to fend off harmful UV rays?
The answer is simple: zinc oxide. This common, active ingredient for sunscreen is mixed into a lotion base to reflect and absorb ultraviolet radiation. Without it, you’d just smell like a coconut and get burnt like toast.
Believe it or not, there’s an active ingredient for Christian living. Although it’s not as high a priority today, for the early church it was indispensable.
What is it? Put simply, generosity!
If you’re surprised, then consider how, from the earliest accounts of the church, believers lived in Spirit-drenched fellowship with each other within which “there were no needy persons among them.” (Acts 4:34, NIV)
Later, when the church took up a collection for poor believers in Jerusalem, people started calling believers “Christians” (or “little Christs”) for the first time. (Acts 11:26, NIV)
Then some fifty years after the first Pentecost, the Apostle John defined sacrificial love as generosity: “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” (1 John. 3:17, NIV)
Without generosity, the Christian witness is flat, flimsy and feeble. But when added to the base of Christ’s love, generosity makes Christian living winsome and impactful.
And contrary to what many think, generosity’s impact doesn’t hinge on the amount given. So potent is it as an active ingredient, even small acts of generosity make a difference!
Where to begin?
It’s not complicated — just start giving. Wherever generous Christian living is spread, the unmistakable glow of God’s blessing and love in Christ results.