How do we know about Pentecost?
A bible reflection for Pentecost on the spiritual gift of generosity and the power of legacy
Churches across the world will be celebrating the festival of Pentecost on 4 June. The account of Pentecost in Acts 2 reminds us of how beautiful the church is - a group of people gathered in one place, praying with one purpose and waiting for the promise-keeping God to draw near.
Despite being a bunch of misfits, these are the people God called. They were ‘clothed with power from on high’ (Luke 24:49) and sent to live out and preach the gospel.
How is it that we have the account of Pentecost?
The answer to this question may seem obvious: it’s in the book of Acts.
The writer of the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts wanted his readers to have an orderly account of what had happened (Luke 1:3 - see below), so that they might have a firm foundation for what they believed. The events we read of here actually happened; the writer would have spent time researching them, visiting the places mentioned and speaking to eyewitnesses to compile an account that his readers could have confidence in.
But this kind of careful investigation takes time and money. Who funded it? Who made it possible?
The first few verses of Luke and Acts may supply the answer:
The generosity of Theophilus?
Both the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts are addressed to an individual named Theophilus.
Scholars disagree (they normally do; perhaps it comes with the territory?) about exactly who this Theophilus was, but one possibility is that Theophilus was a wealthy benefactor who funded Luke’s ministry and work of careful investigation that led to the two books we have in our Bible.
If that is the case, then Theophilus's act of generosity has had a profound impact on the church and the world, and the very passage you read above is part of his legacy.
As we celebrate Pentecost, it’s only right that we look at the different spiritual gifts that God has given his people. Generosity is perhaps a lesser known, but nonetheless important, gift:
We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Romans 12:6-8 (NIV)
Giving generously and leaving a legacy
As a charity, BRF has been enormously blessed over many years by the generosity of our supporters - people who God has blessed and moved to bless others too. We praise God for his provision.
This Pentecost, as we look back on the year past and forward to the year ahead, why not plan a meeting with the Lord to consider and pray about your giving and legacy, and wait for his Spirit to guide you.
Could you pray about whether you could support our work either by giving now or by leaving a legacy in your will?