By Helen Beset Byrd (M. Div.’07)
Jesus Christ, our savior, was a master teacher. He used examples from the culture and experiences of his learners. In the absence of instructional technology, Paul and all the disciples mentored others and sent them to disparate places to take the message of Jesus Christ to others. A Greek named Titus was one of Paul’s mentees. He was sent to the Island of Crete to supervise a large ministry. Paul wrote Titus telling him to help the followers learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs among the people, so that they would be fruitful.
Both the Old and New Testament describe the determinant traits of good works and fruitfulness. John the Baptist advised that true repentance produces a generous heart. When believers are penitent and remorseful, we turn away from sins and with grateful hearts, generously give to God. Their gifts are not given reluctantly nor of necessity. Luke tells us that, “God loves a cheerful giver” (Luke 3:11). Everything we have belongs to God. We give because we love God. In Luke 21:1-4, the disciple tells of seeing rich people giving their gifts and a poor widow who put in two small copper coins. He said the poor widow put in more than all of them because the rich people gave out of their abundance, but the widow gave out of her poverty putting in all she had to live on.
Whatever we have, as followers of Jesus Christ, we are charged to give and help our poor brothers and sisters. Moses told the people of Israel that they were children of the Lord, and, if anyone among them in the community which God is giving them, is in need, they should not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward the needy person(s). Nehemiah advised the people to send portions of their plenteous food to the poor people who have none. And he encouraged them saying, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”
With a generous heart, kindly give to Union so that students whose resources are limited will not be denied the opportunity to prepare to become transformative educators and ministers doing good works that build the twenty-first century church. Please go to the Seminary website, or send a check, and give to the Annual Fund or the Capital Campaign before the 2016 – 2017 fiscal year ends on June 30th! Write “BAA” after your name to give online; or write “BAA” on the memo line of your check to help the seminary track responses. Whatever you can give, like the poor widow, will be a blessing for future students and a blessing for you.