Scripture teaches that we will be known as God’s people by the love that we have for others; when we ‘love others as ourselves’ (Matthew 23:30), when we give as we have decided in our hearts cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7), people will be drawn to the love they are witnessing. We see this play out in the early church in Acts 2:42-47 when the early church expressed overflowing generosity by giving their time, energy, and finances to one another and the early church.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who being saved. Acts 2:42-47
And we see this play out in the modern world. When we live with overflowing generosity, people respond. When our overflowing generosity is because of the goodness of God, people respond to God because of it. The story below was found posted online as a true story of overflowing generosity because of the goodness of God and the lifechanging response.
Years ago, a Pastor noticed the family standing in front of him at a New Orleans convenience store did not have enough money to pay for their few items. He tapped the man on the shoulder and said, “You don’t need to turn around, but please accept this money.” The man took the money without ever seeing the preacher.
Nine years later, the pastor was invited to speak at a church in New Orleans. After the service, a man walked up to the preacher and shared this story about how he had come to faith in Christ: “Several years ago, my wife and our child were destitute. We had lost everything, had no jobs, no money and were living in our car. We also lost all hope, and agreed to a suicide pact, including our child. However, we decided to first give our son some food, so we drove to a convenience store to buy him some food and milk.”
“While we were standing in line at the store, we realized that we did not have enough money to pay for these items, but a man behind us asked us to please take the money from his hand and not look at him. This man told us that ‘Jesus loves you.’”
“We left the store, drove to our designated suicide site, and wept for hours. We couldn’t go through with it, so we drove away. As we drove, we noticed a church with a sign out front which said, ‘Jesus love you.’ We went to that church the very next Sunday, and both my wife and I were saved that day.”
He then told the pastor, “When you began speaking this morning, I knew immediately that you were the man who gave us that money.” How did he know? The pastor was from South Africa and had a very distinct accent. He continued, “Your act of kindness was much more than a simple good deed. Three people are alive today because of it.”
Love changes things. The love of God really changes things. Eternally.