Daily Devotional

Generosity Calls for Time

1 Thessalonians 2:6–8 - “Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.”

In June of 2017, rock climber Alex Honnold, once considered the best climber in the world, attempted to climb "El Capitan,” the 3200-foot rock face in our Yosemite National Park — without ropes. They captured this climb in a documentary called “Free Solo. In the rock-climbing world, "Free Solo” is what climbers call scaling a rock face without the support of equipment. That means he climbed 3,200 feet (2/3 a mile) straight up without a rope! And even though Alex climbs "El Capitan” on his own, it was not a solo effort.

In the documentary, Alex tells a story about preparing for the climb, where a friend spent multiple weekends helping Alex take loose rocks that could get in his way on the climb by putting them in a backpack and carrying them down the rock face. This friend helped pave the way for one of history’s wildest, over-the-top extreme stunts, and it required no money. He simply gave his time and expertise. There was a lot of time and energy people gave to help Alex. The documentary also highlights his friends’ assurance by simply being there with him as he climbed.

There are many things that come to mind when we think of generosity but the Bible’s definition is more extensive than simply finances. In the passage, Paul wrote to a community in the ancient city of Thessalonica, which was located in what is now the northeastern side of Greece. The Roman Empire ruled this city, and its Christians faced immense social and cultural pressure from the Romans. We face immense social and cultural pressure to be influential in real life and even online. In the Early Church, “over the top” generosity wasn’t about doing things for more “likes” or chasin' clout, so to speak. It wasn’t about giving to get. It was about sharing life with other people in small, meaningful ways. Over time, all those small moments added up to an extreme impact.
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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