Action Zones 

Giving begins with God

as published in Great Yarmouth Parish Life June 2018


26th May 2018
Rev Jemma Sander-Heys
giving 06-2018a'We brought nothing with us when we came into this world’ (Timothy 6.7) We have God to thank for everything we receive in this life, from the gift of life itself, to the beauty of creation, the air we breathe and the resources that we need to live each day. God gifts so much to us every day that it is a real struggle to remember to give thanks for all those blessings, we can often take things for granted
This year, as a parish and along with the wider deanery, we have decided to work on taking our response to God’s gifting more seriously with a stewardship campaign. We want to appreciate and reflect thoughtfully on all that we have in life, and to put into its proper context of deep thankfulness and freedom our own response and the way we give back to God, the giver of all things....Why?
giving 06-2018bWell firstly it’s about freedom and trust: If we take seriously God’s love for us, and our salvation in Christ, our freedom and security in this life, as we put our trust in God, and the reality of our heavenly hope... then we will begin to exhibit a markedly different attitude to life from those around us who don’t know Jesus and who live in deep fear day to day because they do not trust in God and his love for each one of us. If we know God even a little, then we know that it is by his gift that we live, and because of him we have hope each day. In the end we know his love will see us through and day to day, we trust him for our daily needs, our ‘daily bread’. That trust frees us to be braver and more loving in the way we respond to one another and the needs of the world around us
Being a Christian means courageously going against the ingrained fear of the World and also trusting in God’s unlimited power of provision... and as everyone knows, the fear of fighting for survival, of competing for resources is a basic animal instinct that it can be hard to shake... it takes practice to change, and to really trust God with his gifts, using them freely and lovingly to make a positive difference to His world
Secondly, and less altruistically, God actually rewards our trust! (Luke 6:38) ‘Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back

God actually wants to reach and make a difference to lives, to the lives of people who don’t know him yet; once we did not know him, and now we have received the gift of his love for us – and it doesn’t stop there – we are to keep sharing in the gifts that we have received, by participating in God’s mission... amongst friends and family, neighbours and strangers, wherever God places us
That means although it’s great our lives are transformed by faith, it’s not enough to keep that faith to ourselves, we are to share in mission activities and prayer, witnessing and working, as a response to the amazing gifts of Life and Freedom and Hope that God has given us. And mission needs resources, it needs person-power, money, time and effort, it needs skills and courage, confidence and equipment... and the wonderful thing is that God knows that and gives to his people EVERYTHING that we need to undertake any mission he has in mind... because EVERYTHING in the world is his, and he give it to us, to use for his glory
giving 06-2018cBut sometimes God’s gifts to the world get stuck in the pipeline: Gifts and talents, time, money and practical resources that are there for God’s mission and glory, and for the freeing and hope of the local community and world, are sometimes shyly and anxiously hoarded away by us, either because we don’t recognise them as God’s gifts, or because we fear they are only a finite resource. So the gifts we need to bring the kingdom of God to fruition are left unused, wasted in this world, when they could create fruits for the next world in love and lives saved
So, as we start to get to grips with the real freedom of thanksgiving and trusting God in this time of renewing stewardship, let’s pray:
Lord we ask for courage to live life to the full, grow in freedom and use all that we have to the glory of God! Amen                                     
Revd Jemma


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