“At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.” Acts 10:2
“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God..”
What is it about love for God that results in a heart full of joy and overflowing with generosity?
We see examples of this faithful devotion throughout Scripture. We see it in the woman with the alabaster jar, anointed Jesus with a love that is literally poured out in generosity. And then there’s Cornelius, the centurion. A soldier in the Roman Italian regiment. Aman, no doubt, who had seen many dark days in combat and could have been hardened, or cynical and disillusioned with life. And yet, Cornelius, had a heart of generosity and was faithful in prayer.
When Peter came to visit Cornelius, and asked, “why did you send for me?” Cornelius answered:
“Three days ago, I was in my house praying at this hour, at three in the afternoon. Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me and said, ‘Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor.’
Peter responded by proclaiming the Good News:
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. “We are witnesses of everything he did… in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day.”
And Cornelius became the first Gentile believer in Jesus. A love for God and a generous heart led him to Christ.
So, let me ask you:
· What habits of your heart have led you to experience Christ and Christ’s love?
· What habits of generosity have given you joy in your giving?
As members of the one body of Christ, and this congregation, we ask two important things of you:
1) Prayerfully and faithfully participate in the ministries of Zion, reaching out to our community
2) Prayerfully consider your “Estimate of Giving for 2024” (see p. 2) – Give as God has blessed you.
Your generosity is translated into countless acts of love carried out in Jesus’ name. On Sunday, Nov. 19th during worship at both services we will each have the opportunity to bring forward our stewardship response: our “Estimate of Giving” card as well as our regular offerings, and place them before the altar of the Lord.