Giving and Generosity
So, this Sunday we looked at our 5th Holy Habit – Giving. .Giving is a huge subject and there are many forms of giving. One that is often challenging for us is financial giving. We looked at Luke’s accounts (Acts 2: 42-47 and Acts 4: 32-37) where he describes how the early Christian community supported each other and those in need in the wider community. There was generous and voluntary giving of possessions and goods sold as needs arose in the community, rather than a ‘pooling of all resources’. We looked at the extravagant loving generosity of God in creation and salvation and the encouragement for us to be extravagant and generous in the way we give, realizing that all we have is from God and ‘all stuff is God’s stuff’. Jesus talked a lot about money, but not in a legalistic, percentage based or prescriptive way; we are encouraged to use our money to the glory of God. I said that I was so thankful and amazed at the way I saw giving working out in our parish. We briefly looked at other examples of giving – sharing our stuff; giving our stuff to those needing it; gifts of loving kindness; the giving of our time – so often underrated, but it can be such a gift to another. At the end, we had a time to talk in small groups about giving and share our thoughts
Below are suggestions for further reflection and action, personally, locally (in community) and globally (world).
We are regularly contacted by organisations wanting to review our insurance or energy bills. But when did we last review our giving in all its forms? See if you can take some time and prayerfully review your giving of money, possessions, love and time and see if the Holy Spirit draws your attention to anything else.
You might like to read the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19. Then imagine it is your home Jesus is visiting. What does he give you? What do you feel called to give in response? How is your home a gift for others, or how could it be a gift for others?
In the talk I mentioned a number of ways that our community gives and shares. Are there other ways that you think we might be able to give? We are thinking about having a ‘borrow board’ in the parish to help us to borrow possessions from each other that we use on an occasional basis. What do you think about this? Is it counter-cultural?
As a parish, we support financially Christians working in a variety of places and countries e.g. CMS and Heather Johnstone and the Rehema project in Tanzania. Could your group commit to regular prayer for them? Personally, are there opportunities for you to partner with someone or a community in another country? Do you already do this? If so, how is it going?
The Fairtrade movement works to redress the injustices of economic systems in the world. Are you involved in Fairtrade? How? As a parish, might we be able to promote Fairtrade more widely in our community in Chandler’s Ford?
A Bible passage for reflection
Look at 2 Corinthians 9. What do you notice about this passage? What will you do or change in the light of your reading and noticing?