Generosity

Devotional

Generosity in the Kingdom 


  "Of the increase of His government and peace, there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." Is 9:7


  The “Kingdom of God” was central to the gospel message that Jesus proclaimed. The good news that He brought was that the Kingdom of God had arrived. Unfortunately, in today’s preaching, the gospel is often limited to salvation from our sins and an entry to heaven when we die. That is an incomplete gospel. The gospel in its entirety includes becoming a part of and experiencing the kingdom of God now, in the present, while we’re still living.


Isaiah 9:7 describes the kingdom of God. It says that this kingdom would be one of righteousness and justice. The people in the times of Jesus lived in a very unjust society. 50% or more of the population were slaves and another 25% a labour class. This 75% of society had no say in government and were treated as nobodies. It was to these people that Jesus announced the inauguration of a kingdom of social justice, where all people would be treated equally and with respect.


Where is this kingdom? Where do we find it? The church is meant to be the physical manifestation of this kingdom. It is meant to be a society of righteousness and justice. It should be a community where people experience the true love and acceptance that God wants us to have.


Writing in A.D. 125 the Christian philosopher Aristides paints this picture of the kingdom of God seen in the church:


“They walk in all humility and kindness, and falsehood is not found among them, and they love one another. They despise not the widow and grieve not the orphan. He that has, distributes liberally to him that hath not. If they see a stranger, they bring him under their roof and rejoice over him, as it were their own brother: for they call themselves brethren, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit and in God; but when one of their poor passes away from the world, and any of them sees him, then he provides for his burial according to his ability; and if they hear that any of their number is imprisoned or oppressed for the name of their Messiah, all of them provide for his needs, and if it is possible that he may be delivered they deliver him. And if there is among them a man that is poor and needy and they have not an abundance of necessities, they fast for two or three days that they may supply the needy with their necessary food."


Quoted in "Poverty and Riches in the Early Church", by Martin Hengel, pp 42-43.




Do people experience the kingdom of God in their interaction with you?