2016 June

June 2016

Dear Friends,

Jesus was standing on top of a hill, looking out with his disciples over a crowd of over 5,000 hungry people, asking his disciples how they could feed them. The disciples were their normal nonplussed selves, looking much like a rabbit caught in the headlights with no clue as to what to do other than not be there.

It seemed an impossible situation.  They had nothing to offer. Then one boy offered his packed lunch of five loaves and two fish – not much to provide sardine sandwiches for so many. It would have been easy to mock, asking what good such a paltry amount would be against the needs of such a crowd. We forget that the boy gave his whole provision of lunch, meaning that rather than be satisfied himself, he might very well go hungry.

It has been my experience as well as that of many others that God holds back until we make an offering in faith, with nothing but faith to go on. There is no super-spiritual experience or deep sense of peace – only the sense that I must be mad to be doing this, but if my faith is to be real, I can do no other.

Therefore, I am sure that the boy gave his lunch knowing that he, himself would go hungry.

That is extravagant generosity. It is not the amount that we give; it is the amount that we hold back.

Such giving does not go unnoticed by Jesus. Just as he saw a poor widow giving her last two coins to the Temple offering, he saw a boy give his whole provision for others. Such was the boy’s generosity that Jesus decided to act.

That offer of some bread and some fish was enough to allow Jesus to act. He honoured that gift by performing a miracle of multiplication whereby the crowd was fed with more than enough left over. What blessing that boy saw as a result of his generosity.

The simple message from this Gospel story is that Jesus can multiply anything. He can’t multiply nothing.

It is very easy for us to assume that we have nothing to offer. Whether it is down to restrictions of age or limited financial resources.

Giving, whether it is of time, talents, resources or money, is not driven by the need of others. We have seen the unfortunate consequences of charities playing the guilt card with donors, and we should not go down that road of squeezing more from our members through a sense of guilt.

Christian giving is a response to the freely given grace of God who gave his only Son – a response, not out of duty, guilt or shame, but as a natural response to the love that we experience and share from God.

Such giving is extravagant in its nature as it is a response to such extravagant grace.

There are two events this month that involve generosity. The first is our Garden Party to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday. This takes place on Saturday 11 June between 2 and 4pm. We will be giving cream teas and souvenir books about the Queen, free of charge to the community, while stocks last. We are doing this free of charge firstly to offer radical hospitality to others and, because it is mission, using the Queen’s own testimony to her faith.

The second event is our Gift Day which takes place this month.  This is an opportunity to respond to the generosity of God’s love and to support the church that we love.

May I encourage you to respond to God’s extravagant generosity by your own extravagant generosity.

With best wishes,

 

David

 


Page last updated: 11th July 2016 2:07 PM