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Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality…. “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:13, 20-21).
There is an amazing scene in the movie Les Miserables. Describing it doesn’t really do it justice. You can watch it here.
This scene is immensely powerful. The bishop doesn’t just tell the guard that he did indeed give Valjean the silver, but he’s very angry that Valjean didn’t take the candlesticks. The look on Valjean’s face as the bishop tells him “With this silver, I’ve ransomed you from fear and hatred. And now I’m giving you back to God.” It gets me every single time I watch this movie.
What a perfect picture of Christian forgiveness and Christian charity!
Don’t forget that Valjean had knocked the bishop out as he got away. He’d offered Valjean his hospitality and Valjean repaid him with violence and theft. And instead of denouncing Valjean to the guards when he’s caught, the bishop instead gives him more silver and sends him on his way.
The fact is, God wants to meet the needs of all of his people. And God’s people aren’t just those who have currently given their lives to God, because Jesus died once and for all. It is God’s will that none should perish, but all should have eternal life.
So you, as a Christian, are called to give to provide for your fellow human beings. To give sacrificially—giving to someone who has done you wrong is a huge sacrifice!
The simple truth is simply that the provision for the needy is the responsibility of the people of God.
So what are you doing to be a part of it?
So often, the first urge college students have is, “But I’m just a college student! I don’t have any money!” In fact, college students are famous for not having any money.
But you and I both know that’s not true.
If you own an Apple product, you’ve had money to spare. Apple products are luxury items—and they market themselves as such. How many of you have a new iPhone, or a nice Macbook, or an iPod or iPad? You had money for that.
If you drank coffee sometime in the past week, you had money for that. Coffee isn’t a necessity. Not even for college students, who are famously short on sleep. The truth is, if you manage your time right, you can usually get enough sleep. And coffee won’t keep you awake too long anyway. Especially since you develop a tolerance to caffeine really quickly.
If you have cable television—if you have a television at all—that’s a luxury.
College itself is a luxury. It costs a lot of money. It’s not necessary. It won’t even necessarily give you a better job or even a better paying job. It doesn’t guarantee employment.
I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t have nice technology, drink coffee, or go to college. Not at all! I’m just pointing out that you have more money than you think!
And if we’re supposed to take every thought captive, and to master our desires, doesn’t it seem really likely that God also wants us to master our finances? To use them for something more than just our own gratification? To use the money he’s provided for us to advance the Kingdom through supporting a variety of ministries—churches and missions and food pantries and soup kitchens and homeless shelters, and the list goes on?
Yes. Yes, God has said that. Many times and many ways, God has commanded us to master our finances and to give to support the works of his Kingdom.
So even you—whether you have a large excess of funds or practically none—can give.
So what are you doing?
I guarantee you there is some sort of food pantry or soup kitchen or homeless shelter in your town. Are you supporting it—financially or with your time or with both?
Do you give to your local church? Do you give to your Chi Alpha ministry? Ministries need money to run, and your church and your Chi Alpha group are both spending money to disciple you. Are you supporting them as well?
Is there anyone in your church or your Chi Alpha group that is having trouble paying for groceries or paying bills? Are you going to help them?
When was the last time you gave something to a beggar?
Right now, Chi Alpha has a partnership going on with Convoy of Hope called feedONE. You can donate online to help feed children in hunger situations at feedone.com.
FeedONE also has a contest going on right now called The Waiting List Film Video Contest, where you can create a 30-to-60-second clip to answer the question, “Why Feed One?” Check it out at thewaitinglistfilm.com.
There are opportunities to give and support God’s Kingdom all around you.
Dare to be more than just a receiver.
Be a Kingdom-minded agent of God’s provision.
Be a giver.