The Greatest Philanthropist of All Times
If you work for a university, arts and culture center, a health institution or a humanitarian aid society you will be very familiar with the word philanthropy.
In 2012 one source listed the world’s top three philanthropists as: 1. Warren Buffett with donations to worthy causes totalling $3.1 billion in 2012; 2. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan at $498 million; and 3. John and Lauren Arnold at $423 million. Of course, there are many other well-known philanthropists including Bill and Melinda Gates and U2’s Bono, etc.
In a previous generation the Kellogg family and the Rockefellers were known around the world for their generosity towards humanity. Quietly, behind the scenes, there are many other philanthropists who give millions to worthy causes but do not want their names to be publicized. These people too are known as philanthropists – they love fellow man so much they are willing to part with their property and possessions for the betterment of society.
In the Bible, the Apostle Paul wrote a co-worker by the name of Titus. Titus was doing a work for God on the Island of Crete in the Mediterranean. In the letter, Paul used the word ‘philanthropy’ in connection with God – yes with God! Here’s the situation: Titus was working with people whose lives were wrecked by sin in probably more ways than we would care to imagine. Titus may have had his down day working with people who seemed to love their sins and delight in darkness. So why, in this context, would Paul even think of introducing the word ‘philanthropy’ – in connection with these people!
Maybe Titus wondered: how base and how low can the human heart take people? Why can’t people apply the brakes on the road of sin and go no further? If we read the Word of God we will understand that people in every other part of the world have hearts no different than those who lived on Crete. Every last one of us has the inner potential to do the very worst; we are only fooling ourselves if we think our heart is any better.
Paul says: “Just a second Titus! We need to remind ourselves of something – our own hearts are no better than the Cretans.”
For we also once were foolish ourselves,
disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures,
spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.
Without exaggeration – ‘unlovable’ could be inked on every one of us – and not on a hidden shoulder or on an arm that’s covered up by a sleeve. ‘Unlovable Me’ could be appropriately tattooed on our own foreheads for all to see.
So Titus is reading these words from Paul and then he bumps into a big conjunction ‘But…’
“BUT after that the kindness and
(love) philanthropy of God our Saviour
toward man appeared (shone forth) …
Not by works of righteousness which we have done,
But according to His mercy
He saved us….”
Philanthropy simply means the love of human beings. A philanthropist is a lover of mankind. God loves humans. Regardless of the depraved and desperate condition of our hearts – our inner selves, the heart of God throbs in love towards every human on earth. Not a single person on our planet is beyond the love of His heart. Before the world was formed, God loved the idea of creating a creature with whom He could enjoy fellowship. When He created man, He loved him and rejoiced over him. And even after Adam sinned, His heart still throbbed in love towards fallen humans.
The ‘love’ that Paul writes to Titus about is not a generic love – it is specifically God’s love of humans and it could not be contained. It shone its brightest at Calvary when Christ hung upon the cross. The Bible says that God’s love was so great for all sinners that “He spared not His own Son but [willingly] delivered Him up for us all.”(Romans 8:32)
None of us can pat ourselves on the back as having done something to merit or achieve God’s salvation. As sinners, we have nothing to offer God. (Romans 3, Ephesians 2:8-9) But because of His philanthropy, He has mercy upon sinners and through faith in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, every individual can be forgiven of all their sins and have an eternal relationship with God.
The greatest Philanthropist of all times – GOD – is willing to richly bless you today with His wonderful salvation and the complete forgiveness of all your sins. The greatest philanthropist of the ages wants to give you what money cannot buy – peace, eternal life and a home in Heaven.
All of this is available to you right now but you won’t experience any of it until you personally accept God’s gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ the Lord. Without your acceptance, you will never have such a wonderful relationship with God.
What is hindering you from accepting Christ right now?
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