Tag Archives: generous

Being the Orange

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect… Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:2, 9-13

Apples and OrangePaul seems clear enough in his letters to the churches…the community of believers (Christ-followers) should look different from the other communities in our world. We should not conform to their ways. Rather, our community should stand out in several ways. The church should stand out in several ways. Here’s a partial list. See how we’re doing…

Our love should be genuine. I read that as real. Not fake. Not conditional in any respect. It is true agape. I do not love you because of what you do or don’t do…nor because of who you are or are not. My love for you does not depend in any way on you or on circumstances surrounding you. I love you for one very simple reason: because Christ lives in me. And as long as that is true, I will keep loving you. Period.

Abhor what is evil…cling to what is good. This is much more than just a moral compass. Morality, in fact, just scratches the surface of this calling. This is about recognizing the work and influence of our one and only spiritual enemy among us and standing against it. And it is about recognizing the work and influence of God’s …

How Your Church Compares: Apples to Apples

Tuesday Re-mix –

I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:8-9

apples-to-orangesGenerally, I have never liked comparing churches…for lots of reasons.  It is a thing wrought with pitfalls and other dangers.  I think comparing churches just fosters the already-prevalent attitude that churches are somehow in competition with each other for all the best people.  We all know better intellectually, but our actions and attitudes say otherwise.  I also do not like comparing churches because each local body of believers is dealing with its own special calling to a community or a certain people group or some other such “calling”, and the processes and programs should be specific to that calling, which makes comparing your church’s programs to my church’s programs an apples and oranges kind of thing.

But as with almost any other rule, there are exceptions to my rule against comparing churches.  I mean, seriously, if a particular comparison was OK with Paul, then who am I to question it?  Paul did not seem to hesitate in his second letter to the Corinthian church, comparing the generosity (in giving) of that church to that of the poorer Macedonian churches.

You see, there is something about “living generously” that transcends cultural differences or even differences of church size or Christian “flavor”.  It is the very heart of a church, and it has a way of leveling the playing field in any comparison.  The church who focuses on pouring itself into the lives of others, who focuses on being generous in giving …