The Example of 3rd Century Alexandria

Aug 23, 2021    Don Willeman    Kingdom Perspective, 2021

Hello, this is Pastor Don Willeman of Christ Redeemer Church. Welcome to the Kingdom Perspective.

Sacrificial generosity is at the very heart of the Christian gospel. The gospel is the story of God generously sacrificing His life for us. When we believe the gospel, we become those that do the same for others.

Fortunately, We have 2,000-years of church history replete with accounts of this sacrificial generosity on display. One such example comes to us from a description of the church in 3rd century Alexandria (modern day Egypt)—as a lethal epidemic swept through that ancient pagan city. Listen to a church leader describe the response of Christians:

“[During the great epidemic] most of our… [fellow] Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves. Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ. Many, in nursing and curing others, transferred their death to themselves and died in their stead…. The pagans behaved in the opposite way. At the first onset of the disease, they pushed the sufferers away and fled even from their dearest, often throwing them into the roads before they were dead…” (Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria, 260 AD).

Fortunately, with modern medicine the personal risk of caring for the sick and dying is somewhat mitigated. However, the impulse to do so must not be. The gospel makes us generous, courageous and loving even in the face of death and disease. Why? Because the One who has so loved us has overcome the mother of all fears—death itself!

Something to think about from The Kingdom Perspective.

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.”

~ Romans 12:9-13 (ESV)