In our church we recently had our annual vision offering. As a team, we are overwhelmed by the generosity that has been shown. People have dug deep, made personal sacrifices and gone the extra mile to sow into their local church and its mission to be followers of Jesus who love broken people back to life!
The generosity of God’s people amazes me - yet it shouldn’t really.
We serve an amazingly generous God, who has touched our lives; the overspill of hearts touched by the grace of God is generosity. He is the One prompting His people to give, out of the lavish love he has already poured out in our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (1 John 3:1). It's all a work of the grace of God. Praise Him!
So, as we talk culture, and what that might look like for us as a church family, there’s already a tonne of ways, both visible and secret that generous acts are taking place. Here’s a few reminders:
- We are generous with our money:It’s a simple fact that, we just wouldn’t be able to do much as a church community without the generosity of the people who give financially every month towards the vision. There’s no funding from government to ‘do church’, there’s no budget in the local council to keep us afloat, there's no denominational HQ sending us monies to pay the staff! God’s people, giving out of God-given conviction, keep the church open. Awesome. May we continue to listen to the Lord and be willing to give generously out of what he has already given us. #youdecide
- We are generous with our gifts and our time: If we’re good at anything, have some skill in something - remember, God made you that way.It's a God given gift. Here at the Foundry Church, we recognise that to make church happen, we need to be generous with our skills, our time and our effort.
- We are generous with our encouragement: A smile here, a txt message there, a card of thanks, a bunch of flowers, or even just turning up. Each of these do something powerful to the receiver; they instil courage. Courage gives us a boost like very little else. In our church community, we are generous, lavish even with giving people courage. Keep going!
- We are generous with our presence: The late great Jim Elliot, Missionary to the Auca of Ecuador said this: “Wherever you are, be all there! Live to the hilt every situation you believe to be the will of God”. In our digital age, the challenge to be present, be attentive to the people we talk with, have a coffee with or do life with is ever present. I’m trying to get better at this by putting my phone in my pocket and refusing to glance at it whilst with someone. I’m not always winning, but I believe every person I come into contact with deserves my attention. And my children will tell you that if you come to our house and you bring your phone to the dinner-table, you’re in trouble!
- We are generous with our homes– “who could be at your table”?
From welcoming new members of the church community, sharing a meal, hosting Connect groups, offering your space up the youth pastor for Sunday night hang-out, being generous with the bricks and mortar God has blessed us with is a great way to grow our world.
Or perhaps, as we heard at church this last Sunday, it might be that God is challenging you to begin to take the steps towards adoption. You’ll need to pray, you’ll need to get counsel from trusted friends and family, but maybe your generosity is going to overspill into growing your family here on earth through adoption or fostering? It might look like becoming a prayer partner or supporting the work of Home for Good for example (www.homeforgood.org.uk). Either way, if you feel God is speaking to you, take some first steps and find out more and begin to pray.
I love what the writer of the Proverbs says: “The world of the generous gets larger and larger...” Proverbs 11:24 (Msg).
I am praying and believing for a great big world to open up to us all.
Questions for application:
- Where am I currently being really generous? How do I know it’s generous?
- Where could I grow in being generous? How is that going to happen?
- Where do I see lack in my life, my family and/or my church? How might being generous change that?