The Easter story is a story marked by extravagant generosity. Even the events that led up to resurrection day are filled with evidence of others giving with no strings attached. For some, the Easter season is a time of mourning. For others, the message of Easter gets lost in colored eggs and chocolate candy. Many do not have a clue what meaning the resurrection of Jesus Christ has for the death of death and their possibility of eternal life. For those who have placed their faith in Jesus, Easter is the most generous day of the year. You could probably say that Christmas is the day of giving. Yet, consider the selfless benevolence surrounding the message of Easter.
Yes, God gave a magnificent gift through the incarnation of himself when he sent Jesus as a babe to this earth at Christmas. What a precious present. The ultimate expression of this gift is the fact that Jesus was sent to earth to die in order that our sins would be forgiven. So, the great gift of Easter is that Jesus came out of the tomb. He is alive! He took care of our worst problem—death itself—on Resurrection Day. Because Jesus lives, you and I have hope that we can live forever with him in heaven.
Easter is also a story of generosity through the ministry of the women who went to the tomb to properly prepare Jesus’ body for burial. I doubt their schedules were free of the clutter of daily responsibilities. There is no mention that they had an early church expense account for the oils, perfumes, and spices they had prepared to anoint Jesus’ body. They gave of their time and resources. Easter is a time to give to others. It is a great time to prepare something someone else needs. Look at the scene of the tomb. The gravesite was donated. The spices were donated. Time was donated. Many were committed to living a generous life around the first Easter weekend.
Be generous with your witness for Christ this Easter. Peter and John ran to the empty tomb and saw with their own eyes that the body of Jesus was gone. Jesus met others along the way to Emmaus. When they returned to Jerusalem to tell everyone possible what happened on their trip, Jesus appeared to the group of disciples gathered there and actually ate with them while teaching about what had happened to him that weekend. Having experienced all of this first-hand, the disciples could have kept the miracle of the resurrection to themselves. Instead, they proclaimed the message of new life through Jesus Christ that would be spread to the corners of the earth to this day.
The season of Lent is often known as forty days of self-denial. Let’s mark Easter weekend with acts of generosity. Be generous with the commitment of your family to your church. Your church could use some extra incarnational volunteers Easter weekend. Do something nice for someone in Jesus’ name who needs a basic need met the week before or after Easter. Share your personal faith in Jesus with at least one person during Passion Week in a simple, yet tangible way. In other words, use words. Be generous with your praise and worship on Easter weekend.
Is resurrection generosity expensive? You better believe it is. It cost Jesus everything to make it happen. In grateful response to his love for you, give extravagantly to the One who gave his all for you so that another pilgrim on this earth can experience the eternal reward on Resurrection morning.
Jim Dunn is executive director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship for The Wesleyan Church.