I came across a letter today.
A letter that is 1900 years old, written by a Greek philosopher Aristides. He was asked by a Roman Emperor to investigate these people who call themselves ‘Christians.’ The Emperor explained that He keeps killing them and they just keep coming back. He keeps persecuting them and they just keep on loving people. What's their deal?
This is what Aristides wrote:
It is the Christians, O Emperor, who have sought and found the truth, for they acknowledge God. They do not covet what belongs to others. They show love to their neighbors. They do not do to another what they would not wish to have done to themselves. They speak gently to those who oppress them and in this way they make them their friends. It has become their passion to do good to their enemies. They live in the awareness of their smallness. Every one of them who has anything gives ungrudgingly to the one who has nothing. If they see a traveling stranger, they bring him under their roof. They rejoice over him as over a real brother, for they do not call one another brothers after the flesh, but they know they are brothers in the Spirit and in God. If they hear that one of them is imprisoned or oppressed for the sake of Christ, they take care of all his needs. If possible they set him free. If anyone among them is poor or comes into want while they themselves have nothing to spare, they fast two or three days for him. In this way they can supply any poor man with food he needs. This, O Emperor, is the rule of life of the Christians, and this is their manner of life.
100 years after Jesus died, and that was the way His followers were not just talking, but were living.
The way they lived was so authentic, so genuine and so original that Aristides himself converted to Christianity.
All because of behavior.
They lived in the awareness of their smallness.
They befriended those who oppressed them.
They gave ungrudgingly to the ones who had nothing.
And when they had nothing to give they sacrificed, they went without so they could provide for those in need.
Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good . . ."
Our generosity will lead people to the generosity of God.