The Church is the one institution that exists for those outside it. – William Tyndale

William Tyndale (1494-1536) is most famous for his outlawed translation of the Bible into English from its original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. He was dogged by religious authorities his entire life before finally being martyred for his insistence that Englishmen read the good news in their own tongue.

One of the oft-overlooked features of Tyndale’s character was his generosity. He was passionate about scripture, but equally devoted to those in need. He was startlingly philanthropic, a word which literally means “possessing a love of what it means to be human.” And Tyndale’s philanthropy was rooted in his understanding of the gospel. “Evangelion (that we call the gospel) is a Greek word and signifieth good, merry, glad and joyful tidings,” said the man, convinced that we were meant to share that which “maketh a man’s heart glad and maketh him sing, dance, and leap for joy.” For Tyndale, our goodness sprang from the ultimate goodness of God, for “God’s goodness is the root of all goodness.”

“On Monday he visited all such poor men and women as were fled out of England, by reason of persecution, into Antwerp, and these, once well understanding their good exercises and qualities, he did very liberally comfort and relieve; and in like manner provided for the sick and diseased persons. On the Saturday, he walked round about the town, seeking every corner and hole, where he suspected any poor person to dwell; and where he found any to be well occupied, and yet over-burdened with children, or else were aged and weak, those also he plentifully relieved. And thus he spent his two days of pastime, as he called them. And truly his alms were very large, and so they might well be; for his exhibition that he had yearly, of the English merchants at Antwerp, when living there, was considerable, and that for the most part he bestowed upon the poor.”  – John Foxe

Tyndale was a good example of a spiritual conduit, delivering God’s river of goodness to communities and people that he felt needed it most. Not stopping it, not hoarding it. In short, he practiced what he preached.