Radical Generosity

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

One of the terms being used a lot today is generosity. It occurs when people go beyond what is expected in giving.  Oftentimes generosity is a direct reference to financial matters.  Here are a couple of great examples of radical generosity:

Frazer’s departments of Music, Arts, and Drama made a tremendous Christmas presentation on Sunday afternoon, December 13 at 4:00 pm. Lynn and I invited Bishop and Mrs. Paul Leeland to attend and then go eat dinner afterwards.  We decided to go to Jim N Nick’s for barbeque.  The manager of this restaurant is Jim Wolf, and I had the privilege of officiating at his wedding several years ago.  He came over to our table and spoke to the four of us.

He had a tear of joy in his eyes when he said he wanted to share something with us.   He said that a few minutes earlier a young couple in their twenties came in to eat.  The waitress who served them was a single mom struggling financially at Christmas.  Somehow the young couple knew about this.

Then he showed us their bill. The cost of their meal was $27.51.  On the line that designates a tip, they left a $400 tip!!  The waitress was overwhelmed.  She did not really see it until the couple left the restaurant.  She ran out trying to find them, but they were gone.

The $400 tip from a young couple in their twenties – that’s radical generosity!

I was speaking at an event in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and Lynn and I went to a restaurant on the main street. We were given a table right next to a window by the sidewalk.  We enjoyed watching the people walking back and forth in Gatlinburg.

Lynn noticed a young lady about 30 years old standing near a post, and she was smiling at us. About that time, a nice looking young man appeared at our table.  He looked at me and said, “I know you are John Ed Mathison.  I am a Baptist evangelist, and my wife and I travel all the time.  That’s her standing out there next to the pole.  Because of our travel and preaching, we don’t get to have a regular place to worship.  We found your worship service on television.  We live in Tennessee, but wherever we are in the United States, we reserve that time on Thursday night to worship with you by television.  Thanks for being my pastor.”

Lynn and I were sitting there trying to take this in. About that time, the young man said, “Thank you.”  He then opened his hand and put down a $100 bill on the table.

Lynn and I were caught off guard. Then I looked back up and the young man had already exited the restaurant.  We saw his wife meet him, and they disappeared into the crowd.  I tried to get to the sidewalk, but it was too late.

I know a young Baptist evangelist does not make much money. I know a $100 gift was a huge sacrifice on his part.  That’s radical generosity!!  I was able to pass the $100 bill on to a young pastor from Beeson Seminary with whom I was working.

At Christmas time, we often ask kids, “What did you get for Christmas?” Maybe a better question to ask is “What did you give for Christmas?”  In fact, it might be good if we ask that quite often in 2016 of ourselves and our friends – “What have you given lately?”

Generosity – The Bible says it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). Mark 10:29, 30 also says what we give will come back a hundred-fold.  I know that a young couple in their twenties and a young Baptist evangelist couple in their thirties have some radical blessings in store for them!!

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