Tag Archives: generosity

Compassion: A Fourteen-Day Journey # 7


Stewardship of Relationship – Love

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First Corinthians 13, the memorable “love chapter,” is the obvious New Testament analogue of this passage in Song of Songs. Although feelings of love tend to be strong in the beginning of a romance, it takes work to nurture and mature the love relationship. Consider the beautiful manifestation of unselfishness at the end of the following illustration, which editors and movie analysts Craig Brian Larson and Andrew Zahn describe as follows:

In the movie Family Man, Jack Campbell (played by Nicholas Cage) is the successful president of an investment house in New York City–and he’s happily single. He has everything, or so he thinks, including a sports car and a radiant girlfriend. But on Christmas morning the world turns upside down. He wakes up in a “what if?” scenario, finding himself twelve years into marriage with his college sweetheart and two small children. He desperately tries to rediscover his old life but in the process begins to find out what he’s really been missing all these years. In particular, he finds that living life for yourself alone is not as fulfilling as living your life for others.

Toward the end of the movie Jack discusses with his wife a job opportunity that would revive some of his former glory. Taking the job would mean a big move for the family, but Kate (played by Te‡ Leoni) says she’s willing to make a sacrifice for the sake of the family–a defining moment that helps Jack see what marriage is all about. Kate makes this declaration: “Maybe I was being na.ve, but I believed that we would grow old together in this house. That we’d spend holidays here and have our grandchildren come visit us here. I had this image of us all gray and wrinkly and me working in the garden and you repainting the deck. Things change. If you need this, Jack, if you really need this–I’ll take these kids from the life they love, and I’ll take myself from the only home we’ve ever known together, and I’ll move wherever you need to go. I’ll do that because I love you. I love you. And that’s more important to me than our address. I choose us.”

Theologian Kenneth Boa, in a discussion of the stewardship of relationships, refers to an illustration of a poignant, real-life boyhood experience:

In The Effective Father, Gordon McDonald relates a story about James Boswell, the famous biographer of Samuel Johnson. Boswell often referred to a childhood memory of a day he spent fishing with his father. On that special day, his father taught him many insights that Boswell treasured for life. Many years later, someone looked up this particular day in the journal that Boswell’s father kept to see what his father recorded about this significant experience in the life of his son. The journal for that day had only one sentence: “Gone fishing today with my son; a day wasted.”

Song of Solomon 8:6-7 NKJV

Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm; For love is  as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love All the wealth of his house, It would be utterly despised.

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Major Themes LV-Care for the Needy


2 CORINTHIANS 9:1-15 NKJV
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Now concerning the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you; for I know your willingness, about which I boast of you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has stirred up the majority. Yet I have sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this respect, that, as I said, you may be ready; lest if some Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we (not to mention you!) should be ashamed of this confident boasting. Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you  had previously promised, that it may be ready as a  matter  of generosity and not as a grudging obligation. But this I  say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So  let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever.” Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you  are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men,  and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

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She Speaks Truth V


PHILLIPIANS 2:19-30 NKJV

But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I k:::now your state. For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly. Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.

“Live out Community”

Have you ever read a book and then stopped paying attention a few–or more–pages back? Your mind is going through the task of reading, but you’re not absorbing what the words are actually saying. This section of scripture is one that you could easily sweep by before moving on to Chapter 3. Let’s look at Paul’s writing: what God can teach us through these words?

Paul is writing a letter, and he is explaining part of the plan and what is next for the people of Philippi. He hopes to send Timothy soon [v. 19], but then decides that Epaphroditus [v. 24] will be the one returning to Philippi, after they had sent him to care for Paul.

You might be asking “why is any of this information important?”

There is something that happens when you write things down the old fashioned way: with a piece of paper and pen. Sentences seem to be formed differently than when you type. Stories tend to hit the paper in a way that strays from email. Remember, Paul is writing a letter.

He is living out community. He is living out the gospel message. He isn’t staying silent, and he’s being very clear about decisions and plans. If we look at verses 26 and 27, Paul even takes time to clarify that Epaphroditus was indeed ill and close to death, as the people of Philippi had heard. He is taking time to explain his choices, so that wrong information doesn’t have a place to grow. Paul doesn’t want there to be confusion even in the simplest of plans–some might call it over communication, but I’m not sure that’s possible. Paul cares deeply for the church in Philippi, and that is so evident in this section.

Just for fun: say “Epaphroditus.” Now say it three times as fast as you can. Now laugh. God likes when we laugh.

All too often we stay silent and choose isolation. What can we learn from Paul’s constant encouragement to be in community and unity with one another through Christ?

Put down your phone. Close your computer. Find a pen and a piece of paper. We live in a world that is fast-paced and full of instant gratification. Write a letter. You chose who you’re writing it to, but take the time to encourage someone. To love someone. To break that silence, and use your voice to love.

This article/series courtesy of the She Reads Truth community!