In 362 A.D. Roman Emperor Julian recognized the amazing benevolence of the Galileans towards strangers. He referred to Christians as the “Galileans” because Galilee was where Jesus was from and did much of his ministry.


Before Christians there was very little charity in the world. Polybius wrote, “In Rome no one ever gives away anything to anyone if he can help it.” Christians followed Jesus teaching of loving their neighbors and helped widows, orphans, the sick and the disabled. As Jesus said, ‘By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)


Emperor Julian was struck by how they cared for the poor and needy. But he was bothered by the fact that so many people were converting to Christianity because of the loving actions of Christians. So, he decided to launch a campaign to create pagan charities to match what the Christians were doing. 


But it failed miserably. What would motivate people to sacrifice for others? Why would they spend their time helping others instead of focusing on themselves? They had no reason to do it, so they didn’t. Only Christians cared for those in need.


What an amazing testimony to the impact of faithful Christ followers. The emperor of the most powerful kingdom in the world was so impressed that he wanted to replicate the charity of the Christians but he couldn’t do it.


All these years later we find ourselves in a similar cultural moment. The challenge before us is to show God’s love not just talk about it. I believe in the power of words. But they must be backed up with action. 


We live in an era where people are increasingly questioning the Christian faith. They are confused by educators who challenge faith and question biblical truth. They are disappointed by leaders who fail to live up to what they teach. They see hypocrisy and question whether what is being proclaimed is true.


But what cannot be challenged are loving acts of compassion. What cannot be denied is faithful commitment to those in need. When Christians do good works it not only honors God but it gets the attention of people.


The Gospel must be preached. People need to know that they need a Savior. But to get a hearing we must first show them before we can tell them. When we show God’s love and compassion in practical ways we earn the right to share about our faith.


About Rick McDaniel

Rick McDaniel is a noted author, international communicator and church leader. He is the founder/senior pastor of Richmond Community Church in Richmond, Virginia. The church is known for its contemporary and innovative services and has a worldwide reach through www.highimpactchurch.tv. McDaniel has earned three degrees including an advanced degree from Duke University and is the author of​ six​​ books including his latest "Turn Your Setbacks Into Comebacks." He has traveled and spoken at conferences and churches worldwide spanning six continents.

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