Generosity comes from a place of trust and thankfulness. Christian generosity comes from an overwhelming gratitude for all that God has done and is doing and will do for us in the gift of his Son Jesus.
John 3: 16 - God loved the world that he gave his one and only Son.
God loves. He gives. He shares life with us. He communes with us, and guess what, we also flourish when we love and give and share and create beauty around us!
The best way I can think of describing Church is a place of utter generosity and a place of thankfulness. The church receives God’s grace in and through Christ and as a worshipful response the church gives itself away. The church in any given place is not just a building. It is not just a group of people who are growing in love of God and love of one another. It is not just a place of prayer and sanctuary. It is not just a hub of celebrating key life moments - weddings, baptisms or funerals. It is not just a place of belonging and friendship, of laughter and tears. It is not just a place of grace and reconciliation. The church is all of the aforementioned but so much more to add! The church exists to serve not itself but its community.
We do not enjoy talking about money, but neither should we shy away from an honest discussion. Church finances across the benefice have been affected by the pandemic. Speak to your church treasurer about this and find out more details!
I want to frame being generous with the picture of that blanket of snow that I started with. Generosity sometimes needs the right conditions and it may be that we are not in a place where we can give financially because of our own financial constraints. If that’s you, then it is important for you to hear a message of thanks for who you are and what you bring to church in other ways - your time, your ideas, your kindness, your prayers. The list of ways of being generous is endless! The best way we can grow in generosity is to grow our relationship with God.
But some people will be in a position whereby they can pray about increasing their giving. Some will be able to consider their monthly gift to enable the mission and ministry of the church. Again please speak to your church treasurers - they’d love to talk to you I’m sure!
Our buildings are beautiful but old and they need quite a lot of money spending on them. Might you want to give a one off donation to the fabric of our ancient places of worship? People in our communities need a listening ear and maybe practical help. Might you be the one who can give some time to pastoral care? People are lonely. Might you be the one to give time and energy into creating a space for friendships? Many younger families do not yet know God’s love and care for themselves. Might you share your story of being found by God?
My role is sometimes described as ‘cure of souls’. My compass of care includes the spiritual well-being of people in the benefice. I take this aspect of being ordained seriously and so I pray that we might know God’s closeness in all we do. I pray for those I am getting to know in the churches but also for the many strangers I do not know who live and work in the locality. I trust God knows and he cares and he generously wants to reach out everyone with his love. Please join me in praying for a release of God’s loving generosity in our villages and in Tadcaster.