It’s Christmastime (in case you didn’t realise!) and in conversation last night Julia and I discovered that, in separate incidents on the same day this week, we had both given money to people begging on the streets. Now I have to say this is not our usual practice. We would always rather buy food & drink every time (we’re fully aware of the often criminal ‘begging racket’ that takes place in many major cities) however we both felt convicted separately to be generous and help those in genuine need.
God’s incredible generosity
It got me thinking about Christmas and the God whom, in His incredible generosity, sent his one and only Son to earth in order that we might each know Him and experience His overwhelming generosity in our lives. I was also reminded that God blessed Israel in order that they might be a blessing to those around them. He blessed you and I that we might be a blessing too!
Paul had to remind Timothy, his young intern;
“Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19 MSG)
Now read those verses again slowly (out loud if you can).
There is a call from God to be extravagantly generous. Why? Because of God’s incredible generosity to us. A quick read of Psalm 103 and Ephesians 1 will remind us of God’s amazing generosity to us in so many different ways.
Now you might not class yourself as rich in this world. Statistics tell us that by 2030, the richest 1% of the worlds population will own two thirds of global wealth. That is a shocking statistic! I suspect none of us fall into that category (unless you’re reading this Mr Bezos!) however the stats also inform us that, by comparative standards, so many of us in the western world are actually rich.
At this time of year and especially after the year that we have all had – it would perhaps be easy to focus on making Christmas the most amazing event yet for our families and loved ones however we must not forget that for many this Christmas is going to be especially tough.
The pandemic has left many people with bereavement and loss, no jobs and little income, debts piling up and massive fears about what 2021 holds for them. Some will be experiencing loneliness, fear and anxiety. They may well be feeling forgotten whilst the rest of the world celebrates Christmas. The ‘most wonderful time of the year’ for many may well be the ‘most miserable time of the year.’
What can we do?
I believe that God’s call upon our lives during this season is simple – ‘Be generous.’
Let’s all of us consider those around us and be generous. In one of our previous churches we had a guy who I knew always struggled financially. I remember God whispering in my ear one Sunday – “give him £20.” I did it without hesitation and I know how blessed he was. I’m not telling that story to big myself up in any way. Julia and I have always blessed people. Let’s not hesitate to be generous people whenever we have the opportunity. By one simple act we can often change someone’s situation. We can bring great joy.
Christmas is approaching – in the midst of the busyness and rush – can I ask you to pause for a moment, pray and ask God to put someone on your heart to bless. Someone to really bless. Extravagantly if you can. Create a hamper of the best food and drop it round. Stuff some money in an envelope and put it through their door. Buy that street person outside your work place lunch at Gregg’s. You may not actually have very much – but do what you can to be generous to someone else.
If you cannot find anyone to be generous towards then why not make a donation to a homeless charity or take some food to your local food bank?
Be generous in other ways
If you have nothing you can offer in financial terms then why not be generous by showing mercy, forgiving someone, being kind, going the extra mile, being a friend, offering hope, providing care, being an encourager, making that call, sending that card etc. Julia regularly bakes cakes for all our neighbours. It has become quite a ministry. There are so many ways in which we can be generous.
As 2020 thankfully draws to a close – let’s close it out by thinking of others and being a blessing! By not hesitating to be generous.
Just think – you could end someone’s horrible year by causing them to smile again. By helping them realise that God has not forgotten them. We are after all His hands and His feet.
This is the season of joy and goodwill to all men. Let’s bring some – it’s much needed!
And….don’t forget this truth;
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25)
So…..who are you going to be extravagantly generous towards this Christmas?
COURAGE FOR THE DISCOURAGED
Do you know someone who needs some encouragement at the end of this long tough year? God put it on my heart in February to write this book having no idea what was to come. It contains thirty chapters of encouragement and one reviewer described it as “a book of help and a book of hope.” It can be read as a daily devotional as it contains readings and prayers at the end of each chapter. Maybe you could bless someone with it this Christmas?
Available at all good online bookstores and on Amazon here: