At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. 2 He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. 3 One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”
4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. Acts 10:1-4
It probably wasn’t a regular occurrence to see an angel of God, but Cornelius knew right away who it was. He wasn’t hallucinating or dreaming. It was a vision from God, and he paid attention immediately.
There are a few details in this description that are worth noting. Cornelius was a generous man, and he prayed. Recall in verse 36 that Tabitha went around doing good and helping the poor.
Obviously our culture is very different than what we read here, but the principle is the same: generous giving is Godly. Going out of your way to give to the poor gets noticed by the One who matters. Later in this chapter we’ll explore this topic further. For now, though, I’d like to challenge us about our giving to the poor. The poor are all around us if we have “eyes to see.” They are easy to ignore as we rush through our days. And they’re easy to write off as drug and alcohol addicts – or worse.
Consider doing one thing this week for the poor. It doesn’t need to be broadcast from the rooftops, but we should go our of our way to do it. God will certainly honor that sacrifice.