At this special time of year, we hear a lot about generosity. However, more than just buying someone the perfect gift or making a charitable donation, true benevolence is a deeply-rooted state of heart — one that is always willing to go the extra mile. As a study in this manner of kindness, let’s look at a man named Epaphroditus, who was a companion of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament. He was a missionary of sorts, and he was an ambassador of the church in Philippi, which Paul founded. When the apostle was imprisoned, Epaphroditus was sent by his congregation with a “care package” that included an offering and some food. Though he didn’t have to, he made the long journey to see his friend in an effort to comfort and encourage him in his time of need. Interestingly, while visiting with him, Epaphroditus became very ill — and though he did recover — Paul seized the opportunity to send a letter back to the church at Philippi to apprise them of his condition and to address a few of the concerns that he shared. This is how the book of Philippians came to be, and it’s ours to learn from only because of the generous spirit of one disciple who was willing to go above and beyond to show compassion to his friend.
Though this has been a tough year, my friend, keep striving to have a generous spirit. Even if it requires you to sacrifice, never underestimate the joy and peace that inhabit your heart as you proactively help others. Whether it’s paying for someone’s groceries, surprising your neighbors with a care package, or buying Christmas gifts for children in need, there’s nothing as healing and uplifting to the human soul as giving. When you humbly ask the Lord to grant you eyes to see the many ways you can make a difference, He will do more through your request than you can ever ask for or imagine!