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Extravagant Generosity3 weeks ago
Canon John Fell invites us to dwell on God’s extravagant generosity
You can’t upstage a Yorkshireman talking about generosity but I want to follow on from George Fisher’s excellent blog a few weeks ago by looking at some more of Paul’s writings. I‘m sure we all remember Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesians in Acts 20:24 (courtesy of Eugene Peterson in The Message) to remember God’s ‘extravagant generosity’ in showing his love for us by sending his son to die for us.
We read in the Old Testament how God so generously provided for his people in abundance from the lush garden of Eden to manna, quails and water gushing from the rocks in the desert and feasting and wine flowing in the time of the kings. Then in the New Testament we read of Jesus going around doing good performing miracles of feeding and healing. As followers of Jesus how should we take up Paul’s challenge and show and inspire others to generosity in our churches and communities by giving extravagantly in whatever form we can whether it be by time, money or service?
And can we think of extending that extravagance through the whole of our lives? We can budget our weekly or monthly expenditure but have we considered what happens to our estates when we die? National charities like RNLI, RSPCA and the National Trust can generate upto 50% of their annual income from legacies. Churches and Christian charities generally receive less than 10% of their income from such sources. Can we look to be as extravagant in our will planning as our regular giving and see it as an opportunity to thank God and celebrate all he has done for us in our lives on earth with our families and friends?
Let us encourage one another with our vision of God’s extravagant love so our generosity will inspire our plans for growing our communities in loving one another.
Over the years God has generously provided for all our needs at ReSource and we need continually to express our thanks to him and those who donate on a regular and sacrificial basis. As we look to move forward and spread wide our vision for Resource across the little, local and ordinary churches we need to renew our commitment to extravagant generosity.
Paul concluded his encouragement to the Ephesians by reminding them that ‘You’re far happier giving than receiving’. Isn’t that our experience as we start to be generous? Let.s commit ourselves to reviewing our whole of life giving in the light of God’s love, Jesus’ example of abundant living and his Holy Spirit inspiring our generous hearts.