Happy Elevated Friday! Today we highlight a story of great generosity in a situation when consumption would have been much easier. 3-year-old Liam and 6-year-old Arielle Keryluke recently lost their parents in a tragic motorcycle accident and are now in the care of their grandparents. With both children having hearing impairments, the grandparents, Ben and Marilyn, knew they would have a large amount of unexpected medical bills in the coming years. To help cover the costs, they reluctantly decided to auction the classic car the children’s father had been restoring. At the recent auction, the auctioneer told the crowd of the children and what this winning bid would be supporting. The auction quickly escalated to $29,000, but upon announcing the winning bid, the winner immediately donated the car back so it could be auctioned again. The second auction yielded another $30,000 before being donated back AGAIN. Finally, the car was sold for a third time for $20,000. After raising $79,000 for the car, when it originally sold for just $29,000, the crowd donated another $20,000 – bringing the total to nearly $100,000! For a group of people who came ready to purchase, generosity was what ruled the night.
We have so many opportunities to consume each day, to take for our own benefit. Whether it is buying a cup of coffee in the morning, buying lunch, groceries, clothes, gas, or any other purchases we make daily, we often have the mindset of using money to benefit ourselves. However, Jesus made a habit of exhibiting selflessness in typically selfish situations. In Luke 19 is the story of Zaccheus, the tax collector. Tax collectors in Jesus’ day were notoriously corrupt and made a living from taking from the poor. Jesus surprises the crowd in Jericho by saying he will stay the night with Zaccheus. Though the story in the Bible leaves out much of what was undoubtedly said during their time together, just by being around Jesus and seeing his example caused the sinful Zaccheus to exclaim, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Being close to Christ always causes our thinking to shift from self-enrichment to self-denial. We set an example of Christ-like behavior for others when we show generosity when others choose selfishness. Today, draw closer to the heart of Christ by giving at a time when you would normally consume.
“Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” – Luke 19: 1-9 NIV