“God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in.” – Deitrich Bonhoeffer
Radical Generosity of God – Advent 2017 Series – Week 1 – Part 6
Kuki Rokhum, TEAR partner and the Director of Training at EFICOR (The Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief), through biblical interpretation, her own experiences, and the extraordinary work of EFICOR in poor communities, shared of the challenge to go beyond charity to a radically transformative form of generosity.
She said this:
“Our Christmas celebrations are focused on getting things we do not have: gifts for people, food for feasts, new clothes. We stuff, stuff, stuff. We fill, fill, fill. We get, get, get.
When you look at Philippians 2, we read of Jesus who made himself nothing. And so Christmas should not be about stuffing ourselves with gifts and food and company, but about a God who emptied himself. When Jesus left all of the glory of heaven behind and came to earth to be born in a stable.
Sometimes, I wonder if this was more painful than Good Friday. I have an image in my head of the angels mourning and saying “goodbye” to Jesus when he was preparing to come to a dirty, lonely, filthy place – destined to become a child born out of wedlock, a refugee, a poor man.
This is radical generosity. This is God emptying himself, coming to this world in the most vulnerable way.“
We tend to look at the cross and the empty tomb as Christ's “Big Moment,” the thing that changed everything. But there was a “moment” before the cross that was just as powerful, perhaps, just as redemptive – for some, maybe even more so: The birth of Christ as a human baby. The incarnation of The Divine God into human flesh. “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” (John 1:14 MSG).
The radical generosity of God is in this: he bestowed upon humanity the dignity and the honor of becoming one of us. This is the birthplace of redemption, reconciliation, and transformation. He humbly and graciously emptied himself into us, not as a king, or ruler, or one of means and wealth; he did not pour himself into a man of stature and reputation.
If we remember correctly, it looked a little different than that…
In his book, “God is in the Manger” Deitrich Bonhoeffer said:
“God travels wonderful ways with human beings, but he does not comply with the views and opinions of people. God does not go the way that people want to prescribe for him; rather, his way is beyond all comprehension, free and self-determined beyond all proof. Where reason is indignant, where our nature rebels, where our piety anxiously keeps us away: that is precisely where God loves to be. There he confounds the reason of the reasonable; there he aggravates our nature, our piety—that is where he wants to be, and no one can keep him from it.
Only the humble believe him and rejoice that God is so free and so marvelous that he does wonders where people despair, that he takes what is little and lowly and makes it marvelous. And that is the wonder of all wonders, that God loves the lowly…. God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and broken.”
Today's Advent Reading: Isaiah 29:17–24; Matthew 9:27–31.
Written by Liz Milani