Generosity – Week 10 Menu
How great the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure, that he should given His only Son...
Read Psalm 139 (omitting verses 19-22). Spend time giving glory to God for who God is, what he has done, and what he is doing in your life and in the wider world.
1. Have you ever been given a gift, and the donor has stipulated what you should do with it? How does God give to us?
2. Read Acts 2:42-47 From your bank statement and diary, what would people think was of prime importance in your life?
3. Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-31 what is Paul saying is your place in this church? How does the body, and its parts, operate?
4. If someone were to step in front of you and shield you from a knife or bullet, how would your life change?
5. If you heard that Christ would be returning this time next year, how different would your life be over the next 12 months?
Prayer (Henri Nouwen) slowly, and thoughtfully, pray
Dear Lord, help me keep my eyes on you.
You are the incarnation of divine love, you are the expression of God’s infinite compassion, you are the visible manifestation of the Father’s holiness. You are beauty, goodness, gentleness, forgiveness, and mercy.
In you all can be found. Outside of you nothing can be found. Why should I look elsewhere or go elsewhere?
You have the words of eternal life, you are food and drink, you are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. You are the light that shines in the darkness, the lamp on the lampstand, the house on the hill top. You are the perfect icon of God. In and through you I can see and find my way to the Heavenly Father.
O Holy One, Beautiful One, Glorious One, be my Lord, my Saviour, my Redeemer, my Guide, my Consoler, my Comforter, my Hope, my Joy, and my Peace.
To you I want to give all that I am. Let me be generous, not stingy or hesitant. Let me give you all – all I have, think, do, and feel. It is yours, O Lord. Please accept it and make it fully your own. Amen
Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and for the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Generosity – a story by John Wates
There was once a man who had a big house in which all his family could live with him. He had many children. And, as is the case with large families, there was quite an age gap between the oldest and the youngest. The very eldest children had left home and had good jobs. There were others who were still at school and university. And the youngest ones lived at home and played round the house and the gardens.
The man was a good man. He helped his neighbours and was generous to all who had need. He particularly enjoyed sharing, with the local children and their young families, the many good things he could offer. When a few neighbours, and his older family, complained about the noise the younger ones made, he understood that they needed peace and quiet to do their studies at home. So he built a special room for the young families, children and youth, where they could play and learn, and make as much noise as they liked. It cost a lot of money. But he thought that it was worth it to provide peace for all.
There came a time when the man had to go abroad on business. He left the running of his affairs in the hands of a steward. The steward wanted very much to carry on all the good works that the man had been doing. But he wasn’t as good at business as the old man had been. Somehow the outgoings were exceeding the income, and the younger ones weren’t yet in a position to start paying rent.
Over the years, the father had been very generous to his family. He had given them a good education and a beautiful house to live in, and had encouraged them to be generous and share their blessings with those around them. Now all his good works were being put at risk. So the steward called the family together. He reminded them how everything they had came from the father – their education, their comfortable home. But also that, most importantly, he had brought them up to be hard working and to share his concern for the community in which they lived. He asked them to be equally lavish in their generosity. He didn’t ask them for what they hadn’t got. He would accept what each one gave.
And they all considered how they could also be as generous as the father. They reviewed their finances. Some realised that it had been a long time since what they paid in had risen. Others decided that they didn’t want all that had been built up to be lost. Between them all, after a lot of thought and generosity, they found they could afford not just to keep the house but to increase their giving to the community.
Eventually the old man came back. He called the steward and the family together. “Well done”, he said. “I see that everyone has done his bit. ‘The man who has got much had no more than enough, and the man who got little did not go short”.
And that, my friends, is how we can respond to the needs of St. Margaret’s. AMEN
A photo of Sue Wates’ statue of the Father, looking out to welcome the prodigal home