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Generosity from Passover to Betrayal to Resurrection

Updated: Mar 25

Passover to betrayal, trial, crucifixion, and finally resurrection—these events tell the core story of our faith. As the dramatic events unfolded, there was grief, fear, horror, unbelief, forgiveness, triumph, victory, hope, and, yes, generosity.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke report that as Jesus went to Calvary, no doubt weakened by the cruelty he had already experienced, a bystander was compelled to help Jesus. Simon of Cyrene was in town—no doubt for the Jewish Passover. Simon was chosen by the soldiers to carry Jesus’ cross to Calvary. How is this an example of generosity? Sometimes we are called out to give of ourselves out of duty, responsibility—to do the right thing. A bystander, Simon suddenly was obligated to help Jesus. Because he had been asked by a Roman soldier, it became his duty. Simon was compelled to give assistance to Jesus. Had he not been a religious person, a devout Jew, doubtless he would not even have been in Jerusalem during Passover. Because he was meeting his obligation as a devout Jew, he was in a place to become a part of the crucifixion story. He was compelled to help Jesus—to give.

A pastor friend of mine told me that at the beginning of his ministry, visiting shut-ins and making home visits was not something in his comfort zone. He did it because it was expected of him—it was part of the ministry of the church. The people appreciated his visits. He prayed with them, talked with them, and did his best to be a representative of the church. This same pastor reported that as the years passed, as he continued to visit and be faithful, he discovered that these visits became extremely meaningful times for him. They became times when he was blessed far more than anything he could have imagined. Doing things because it is our duty or obligation sometimes affords us the opportunity to grow in our understanding of service and generosity.

Another character in the drama of salvation is a man named Joseph of Arimathea. Luke and Mark write that Joseph was a member of the very council that had put Jesus on trial but that he had not agreed with the decision. Matthew’s gospel states he was a “disciple of Jesus”—although it is not clear whether this means he was openly a disciple or only believed privately. It is clear that he was a leader among the Jews and was acquainted with Jesus.

Passover was approaching. It was considered unclean to handle a dead body after the beginning of the Sabbath. There was only a narrow window of time. Jesus was dead and something had to be done fast. Joseph of Arimathea saw a need and acted to meet that need. Joseph stands in a line of generous folk who give because they see a need, like the thousands of people who contribute to victims of disasters all around us. They do not contribute because they know anyone personally effected or have ever visited the sites of devastation caused by wars, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, floods, earthquakes, etc. They see great need and give in response to that need. Joseph of Arimathea saw the need and gave in response. Thank God for the many people who give in response to human need.

The third kind of generosity illustrated by the Easter story is the example of the women. Mary Magdalene, Mary, and others went to the tomb to properly prepare the body for burial. They were doing for Jesus the last kindness that could be done. These followers of Jesus acted not out of duty or obligation, and not just out of an awareness of an unmet deed, these women were generous out of a deep and abiding love for Jesus whom they followed and no doubt helped care for during his life and ministry. Their generosity grew out of a deep and abiding love. They went to the tomb expecting to do a generous deed for their friend whom they loved. Love certainly leads to generous giving in all times and places. But when they arrived at the tomb, they encountered the greatest example of generosity they could ever imagine.

The greatest generosity in the Easter story is the generosity of God who sent His only Son to demonstrate how far love would go to

atone for the sins of all people everywhere for all times. This was the generosity that Paul describes “did not count equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.” This Easter, we are reminded of the gift we have all received— that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Hallelujah!

I am so very grateful for YOU! Your generosity had a huge reach last year. Three hundred and eighteen made decisions to follow Christ. Eighty-nine babies and children were adopted into their forever home. Two hundred and fifty-five expectant mothers received counseling. And 122,643 days of care were provided for children in need of a place of refuge—a place to experience hope and healing. Thousands of meals were provided for children and families desperately hungry for food. One of our children described their hunger with these words: “I was hungry for food. I was hungry for a home. I was hungry for hope. I was hungry for someone to care about me. I was angry. I was empty!”

Behind every number is a child in crisis. Behind every number is an individual or a family in desperate need. In the past two weeks,

we received calls requesting care for three precious babies born addicted to drugs—beautiful, precious newborn babies. They were placed in loving foster homes. You do not know these children, you do not know these families, and yet you give. “Whatsoever you did for the least of these you did unto me.” Generosity, selfless acts responding to real needs, is our faith in action. Thank you for being a generous part of changing the lives of children and families. Thank you for joining us in sharing the GOOD NEWS! He is risen—He is risen indeed!

For more information on how you can help transformation take place in the lives of children who so desperately need you, call me at 336-689-4442 or email or make a gift at

Written by Brenda Gray, Executive Vice President, Development & Communications

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