THE TRUE MEANING OF GENEROSITY
In Matthew 25:34-40, Jesus explains the true meaning of generosity:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
Throughout the Bible we see passages like this one, speaking the truth about how when we reach out to help someone, to serve someone, or to give to someone, we are actually helping, serving, and giving to Christ. Jesus made it very clear that he came to the world to save us from our sins, but also to do the work of God upon the earth.
We are similarly called to be the hands and feet of Christ, working as Christ to help those who are suffering or in need. But what happens when one of those who is suffering or in need is ourself?
At TRM, we recognize that “the least of these” is not always someone who is experiencing homelessness or hunger. Sometimes the least of these is ourself, our loved ones, or our own family or community. When this is our reality, what do we need the most?
We need discipleship, wise council, prayer, and a community of support from other believers. Especially in times like these where inflation has reached a 40-year high and we’re seeing instability in things we once may have considered guarantees: the supply chain, the stock and housing markets, the prices of food and necessary services, to name a few. Even if we are not experiencing immediate physical needs like homelessness or hunger, sometimes we ourselves are in need of radical generosity.
But what can we do for others when we ourselves are struggling? 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” When we are uncertain or questioning, the Bible tells us what to do: Give thanks in all circumstances. Sometimes this means giving thanks for what we do have, for the positive things in our lives, or for negative situations we’ve been able to move away from. Sometimes it’s not just giving thanks for what we have in a material sense, but giving thanks for what we have in the spiritual realm, knowing that’s all we can take with us.
We can cultivate the kind of radical generosity where we are so overwhelmed with thankfulness for what we have in Christ, we are able to face the challenges that come our way and continue helping others. We can choose to be overwhelmed with gratitude for what Christ has already done for us, and to give thanks for walking with the King of the Universe. We can choose to continue giving to others with whatever we do have: if we don’t have the financial ability, we can give our time. If we don’t have the physical ability, we can give our prayers. We can realize that whatever we are able to give to others, whether that be our time, prayers, finances, or words of encouragement, it will be used by our Father to create more love and positive changes in the lives of others.
To those of you who are facing your own struggles, we recognize you. We see how often you transcend your own situations and your own suffering to reach out and help those around you, and we pray God will bless each of your lives as richly as you bless others. Thank you for following the call of Christ and continuing with us on this journey to bring hope and healing to as many lives as we can!
JOIN US ON NOVEMBER 29 FOR GIVINGTUESDAY!
GivingTuesday is a movement that unleashes the power of radical generosity around the world. Created in 2012 in New York City with a simple idea of giving back and doing good in your community, GivingTuesday is now an independent nonprofit and a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people each year to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.
The global network of GivingTuesday collaborates year-round to inspire generosity around the world, with a common mission to build a world where generosity is part of everyday life. Whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of what we have to those who need our help, every act of generosity counts, and everyone has something to give.
This GivingTuesday, an anonymous donor has offered to match a total of $5,000 for the TRM food pantry. Please help us utilize this extraordinary opportunity to raise funds that will go towards purchasing food to provide nutritious, delicious food to TRM guests and those who are hungry in our community!
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know that in the last 35 years, in spite of many personal, national and global challenges, our faithful supporters have continued to give to TRM? They have supported us through such crises as the Middle Eastern conflicts in 1987, the Gulf War in 1990, the fears of Y2K in 2000, the 9/11 tragedy in 2001, a recession in 2008, TRM’s financial challenges in 2019, a global pandemic in 2020, and the ongoing inflation of housing prices and the cost of living. Even during those times of great uncertainty and fear, our supporters have stood side by side with TRM, sacrificially giving in ways that have helped us provide shelter, food, and services to those facing homelessness and hunger in the greater Topeka area. We are forever grateful for those who have stood with us over the years and continue standing with us today.