Perspectives by Rev. Clarence Witten
Opinion - June 27, 2012 Edition
Love South Dundas done
What changes people? What affects them? How about seeing love in action? Seeing people give radically?
I heard a speaker say that what single-handedly turned the Roman Empire from paganism to following Christ was the radical generosity of Christians. In a world believing in serving oneself and living to maximize pleasure, these ‘strange’ Christians lived to serve others and sacrificially gave to the needy. This turned the heads of the pagan world and eventually won their hearts.
I guess this shouldn’t be surprising. That’s how the church began.
The Bible says this about the first Christians: “selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.” (Acts 2:45). This wasn’t them just selling their extra stuff at yard sales.
It goes on to say: “For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales... and they would be distributed to each as any had need.(Acts 4:34-35)
Wow. It’s one thing to sell the junk in the basement or my extra perennials to have money to give to the needy, but property or a house? You have to admit, that’s pretty radical. And as that speaker spoke of, yes, already in this very first church, this crazy giving spoke to and drew people to Christ.
That brings me to Love South Dundas. I don’t think anyone quite gave up a house or a piece of land as part of this, but we did witness lots of giving, some of it quite touching.
There were the random acts of kindness, people anonymously giving to others. There was the baking of delicious goodies that were distributed to show appreciation to businesses and service organizations. And there were also many who gave financially.
A Christian business owner paid for a huge Bouncy Castle, another paid half for a second one. A family dropped by my door to donate hundreds. And the list goes on and on. Almost $1,000 was given to give out free DVDs of the life of Christ. The Pentecostal Church blessed us with the money and person-power to put on a free barbecue. Others put in countless hours working for the event. For all this giving, we are very grateful.
But why did they give? And why so generously?
There’s only one answer and it’s simple and yet profound. Each and everyone of these business owners and individuals gave because they received. They have understood and accepted the greatest gift ever, salvation through Christ Jesus. By accepting what Christ did on the cross for them, they have received a new life now and an eternity in heaven. Overwhelmed by God’s love for them, they simply want to share that love with others.
Love South Dundas is over. It was two weeks during which the churches of the area worked to show love to the community.
It’s our prayer that people who saw this love would ask “Why? What’s this about?”
It’s our hope that our giving would turn heads and ultimately turn hearts back to the Master Giver, God himself. And to his most amazing gift: JESUS.
Pastor Clarence Witten
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