Tag Archives: give

Give, Live and Love Generously – Christmas Day 10

Salvation Army volunteer hands hot meal and water

Ronald Reagan is quoted as saying,

“Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.”

Some times we can feel we’re a bit all ‘given out’.  That we have nothing left, or perhaps that we’d like someone to give to us for a change.

As Christians we are called to love, and live generously.

To be generous, we need to hold what we have very loosely.

Nouwen points to being able to give means that we are moving from fear to love.

People who fear cling to things, hold them tightly around them.  If you are afraid, you cannot let go, and you cannot give.

Nouwen also tells us that the word generosity comes from the  same root as referring to being of one kind. And so true generosity comes from knowing not feeling.  Those to whom I give belong to my family – whether I recognise them or not.

It is from that basis that we give.  Not because we know, like or feel sorry for someone – but because they are our fellow human being.

Trust the Lord

Be patient and trust the Lord.
Don’t let it bother you
when all goes well for those
who do sinful things.
Don’t be angry or furious.
Anger can lead to sin.
All sinners will disappear,
but if you trust the Lord,
the land will be yours.

16 It is better to live right
and be poor
than to be sinful and rich.

21 An evil person borrows
and never pays back;
a good person is generous
and never stops giving.

At our church, we have a 10% Challenge going: Each week as we do our shop, we are challenged to calculate 10% of it and spend that on buying things for the Winter Shelter for the homeless in our town.  That certainly focuses my mind – both on what I have in abundance that I take for granted and what others don’t have.  I actually find myself grateful for the opportunity to give in that way – thought it costs me little in personal terms than some money.

Giving is not just about ‘things’, though it’s a place to start.  Giving is about so much more – giving ourselves, our time, our skills, our attention, being open and available.

What have we, that someone else needs?  How freely can I give?  Can I let down my barriers, that I can let go – of what I have, of my very self?

Can we live, give and love generously?  That is the work of God, the work begun at Christmas in the manger.

(h/t to Robb for these words http://bigbible.org.uk/2012/12/is-christmas-over/)

And the prayer from the book:

Lord,

you who were given to the world

by your Father.

whose gift is beyond all generosity,

teach us to give generously

out of the love you have granted to us.

Amen

This year for Advent – and into Christmas, some friends and I are using Advent and Christmas Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen.   You’re welcome to join us on this journey.  Feel free to comment here, or on Twitter using #adventbookclub

Also blogging on the #adventbookclub are:

http://www.likeasthehart.me.uk/

http://drbexl.co.uk/

http://clairemaxim1.wordpress.com/

http://runninglife.wordpress.com/

http://dorothy726blog.wordpress.com/

Take Care

A proverb is a simple saying to express a truth.  This reading contains three snippets around the subject of rich and poor:

Proverbs 22

A good reputation and respect
are worth much more
than silver and gold.
The rich and the poor
are all created
by the Lord.

What would you want more –  To have lots of money?  Or to be treated with respect and have a good reputation?  I guess the answer to that is a whole lot easier if you have at least some money!  But if you have nothing, if you are struggling for every last thing – how can you feel respected?

Yet we are reminded that we are all made the same.  We all have the same needs, fundamentally anyone else is no different to us.  Which raises the question of how do we treat the poor?  Do we look down on them?  Or treat them as equals?

We all need food, warmth, shelter, hope and love.  How do we make that happen for those who need it?

Troublemakers get in trouble,
and their terrible anger
will get them nowhere.

The Lord blesses everyone
who freely gives food
to the poor.

Do we give to those who need it?  It’s coming up to the Harvest season, when we sometimes think about those who have less of a harvest than us.  But what about the rest of the year?  And what about those who have food and money, but lack other things?  How can we go about caring for them – as we show our commitment to God and his ways?  Do we give freely?

22 Don’t take advantage
of the poor
or cheat them in court.
23 The Lord is their defender,
and what you do to them,
he will do to you.

How would you want to be treated if you were the person in need?  Or if it were your children or parents?  I would want to feel that there would be love and care, people willing to go our of their way to help.  Is that how I behave to others?  Because that is what God asks of me?

Lord,

give me eyes to see,

and a heart to understand,

the needs that are all around.

Help me to give,

not just the easy things,

but of myself,

and what is really needed

Gift of life

What can I bring to offer

what can I bring to you

that recognises what you have brought to me?

Where can I go,

what can I do?

As the presents are laid out

As we give to those we love,

May we not forget the reason why,

And think on what we give to you.

Lord,

I bring to you

all that I am,

all that I have,

and I give it to you.

Everything.