May 10, 2006

More Good Than Harm


"Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor ..." Luke 19:8


Zacchaeus had gotten rich because he knew how to get more than his fair share of things. But when he met Jesus, Zacchaeus changed. He wanted to make amends to the people he had cheated, and he decided to help poor people rather than make people poor. Zacchaeus became a giver rather than a taker.

Still today Jesus transforms villains into heroes. People who once sold drugs have met Jesus, and in his strength they are now helping victims of addiction to recover. Others were imprisoned for criminal activities, but through the power of Jesus they have become active in prison ministry. Still others were selfish and greedy, always taking and never giving, but through Jesus they have found that "it is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).

It's an amazing gift to be forgiven of a harmful past. But an equally splendid benefit is that Jesus gives each of us a new future of helping people rather than hurting them. So wherever it is possible and helpful, we should make restitution to people we have hurt or cheated. In doing so, we can give of ourselves to help others.

God has given all of us resources and skills. And God will give us opportunities to use what we have in order to help others. Then, like Zacchaeus, we can enjoy the rich satisfaction of doing more good than harm.

Lord, if I have hurt others, show me the best way to make amends. Thank you for forgiving my sins and helping me become a force for good through Christ Jesus. Amen.

About the author — David Feddes

Dr. David Feddes is pastor of Family of Faith Church and provost of Christian Leaders Institute, which supports mentor-based ministry training through online courses. David is also adjunct missiologist for Crossroad Bible Institute, which provides biblical distance education to more than 40,000 people in prison. Previously he served as broadcast minister for the Back to God radio program, reaching people in more than fifty countries. David earned his Ph.D. in intercultural studies from Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL. He and his wife, Wendy, have nine children (one in heaven).

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