William Barclay: Always eager to give

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At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior. Titus 3:3-6

“The love and grace of God are gifts which no man could ever earn; they can only be accepted in perfect trust and in awakened love. God offers His love to men simply out of the great goodness of His heart and the Christian thinks never of what he has earned but only of what God has given. The keynote of the Christian life must always be wondering and humble gratitude, never proud self-satisfaction… It’s due to His goodness. The word is chrēstotēs and it means benignity. It means that spirit which is so kind that it is always eager to give whatever gift may be necessary chrēstotēs is an all-embracing kindliness, which issues not only in a warm feeling but also in generous action at all times.”

William Barclay in The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, Revised Edition (DSBS; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1975) 261. Today marks a return to ‘kindness’ which is my word for 2019.

Those who exhibit kindness are “always eager to give” to others, whether they are deserving or not. This shows itself in “generous action at all times” and so it will look different compared to the world around us.

I learned yesterday that one of my Daily Meditations readers is battling with cancer: John Scott. Join me in praying a prayer for his healing. He also comes to mind today because of Barclays use of this interesting word: benignity.

Benignity is the opposite of malignity. To exhibit benignity is to be a person who is perpetually harmless (where as malignity is perpetually harmful, think: ‘malignant’ cancer). Consider the implications that God is perpetually harmless.

God does not harm us. He can’t because of His goodness. Moreover, He never ceases to lavish us with good things. If you are going through tough times, don’t lose heart. Call out to God who is “always eager to give.”

Father, you are perpetually good toward all you have made. Touch John and any others who suffer. Hear their cries for help. Answer in your kindness and mercy by Your Holy Spirit. Hear my prayer for them in the name of Jesus. Amen.