Rich DeVos, Amway co-founder, died this week at the age of 92. He left a tremendous legacy in West Michigan—particularly here in the Ada area where he and Jay Van Andel launched their new business out of their basement in 1959. His wife Helen passed away in 2017. Following his death, the family issued a statement which read, “we celebrate grandma & grandpa’s incredible legacy of creation & generosity as a generational chapter closes…”
And certainly their generosity is what most of us think about when we remember Rich DeVos. The DeVos Performance Hall, the Helen Devos Children’s Hospital, the DeVos Place Convention Center and the Richard DeVos Heart & Lung Transplant Program at Spectrum Health are just a few of his charitable contributions. In 2017, Forbes reported that the DeVos family had donated $1.2 billion in lifetime giving. You might not agree with his theological positions, his political views or his business model. But you cannot help but respect him for his incredible spirit of generosity. Such radical generosity has a way of silencing the critics.
Peter challenged believers in a similar way. “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Pet. 2:12 (NIV)) The word “good” is a word that could be translated “beautiful,” “noble,” or “honorable.” We should not only live moral lives but we should strive to live beautiful lives marked by eyecatching generosity and grace. In this way, we can silence our critics.
Peter was writing to a group of refugees (1 Pet. 1:1). They had been forced to flee their homeland because of persecution. Many of them had been disowned by their families. They were not exactly living at the top of the food chain. And yet Peter expected them to live with grace and distinction. The point is that you don’t have to be a multi-millionaire to live a beautiful life. You can give of your time. You can love your spouse faithfully. You can refuse to take revenge when you have been wronged. You can serve in the nursery. Are you living a beautiful life?
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