Responding to God : At the end of the month in which we have considered our response to our Generous God, what do we do? Psalm 24 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it”- so we are only called to return to God our time and our talents and our money which came from him. In giving to God and serving him we serve one another, and as it says in 1 Peter 4, “Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.” We have been given and we enjoy many and varied good gifts.
Have you read Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol, the novel with old Mr Scrooge? In the beginning, Ebenezer Scrooge is a successful business man but is a cold hearted miser who despises Christmas and any idea of hospitality and giving. It is difficult to see anything in him which suggests that he is happy or content. During the story Ebenezer’s three dreams show him the value of sharing his gifts with others. Waking in the morning Ebenezer is full of the joys of spring – although it is Christmas day. Ebenezer wants to share his good fortune, especially with his employee Bob Cratchit and family. Ebenezer’s joy does not come through saving and building more but by sharing with others.
Giving gifts is not like throwing a boomerang. They will not return and land at our feet. We may not even see the outcome of those gifts, although we often will. Our Christian faith calls us to act, as 2 Corinthians 8 reminds us, “For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.” Jesus was often doing the unconventional, even the illogical, because he knew that he was living out the purposes that God had planned for him. As we have considered our Generous God, as we have read scripture, as we have prayed, what have we understood God to be calling us to do, unconventional or not?
[Written by Martin Whiting]