Does generosity change everything?
Paul seemed to think so.
You see, Paul was a zealot. He was a man fully committed to his cause. He killed Christians freely. He chased them down. He stoned them. He got mobs organized, and you can imagine Christians being dragged from their homes to face mob justice. In Paul’s dreams in the quiet of the night, I suspect that he woke with those images of blood still on his hands. It was unshakable. How could he ever forgive himself?
But those images of blood I suspect were gradually replaced by a more powerful image. On the road to Damascus, when he was fully driven to kill, generosity changed everything. A bright light halted him, and the voice of Jesus called out to him: “It’s me, Jesus, and I love you.”
It must have been maddening to think that Jesus could ever be so generous as to love a murderer like Paul. In his own mind, Paul must have wondered how it could be. Yet even as Paul raised those questions, Jesus would point Paul to a simple truth.
Not many years before, Jesus had faced a similar road. Soldiers had come with swords. A mob had gathered. They had breathed lies, and justice was ill dispensed. It would have been easy for Jesus to call down his own revenge with a single word. In fact, in the garden, Jesus pondered if there was another way—some way, any way to avoid the upcoming agony.
In the end, there was not. Jesus walked the long road, bearing a cross, stripes on his back, blood freely flowing … and he gave his life.
His gift—well, it changed everything. It united a fledgling church. It ignited a handful of fisherman and tradesmen to speak freely and boldly and ultimately give their lives. His gift still brings people together in love. His gift is still the motivation for people to leave homes and family to share with those who have never heard.
The generosity of Jesus changes everything.
This blog is part of a series. For the previous blog, click here.
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Published May 5, 2016