Posted by Mez Carter on 5th November 2022
Freely you have received…
A spirit-filled people who are generous.
The recent special offering; a wonderful testimony to God’s provision and a united heart response of our church family to sow generously with our finances.
What I want to share here is also about generosity. It is something God prompted me with in the run up to and during our Staycation but, as some of you may know, my voice has not been cooperating in recent weeks, so I haven’t been able to share…until now.
God led me to two passages. The first is in Acts 3 where Peter and John encounter a lame beggar who entreats them for money. Instead, they give him something greater and by the power of the Spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ they command him to stand and walk. And he does! He is healed.
The second passage God led me to was when Jesus sends out the twelve disciples, giving them authority to drive out demons and heal every disease and sickness. He tells them “Freely you have received; freely give” (Matthew 10:8b)
I feel that God wants to remind us again of the power and authority we carry as his followers. Back in January we had some great teaching from Wendy Mann and her team which inspired many of us. She spoke about the power of showing intentional lovingkindness, of praying for healing for those around us, for speaking insight and truth into the lives of others, knowing that we carry the same Holy Spirit power as that which raised Jesus from the grave!
The last few Novembers in our family, we have commandeered the month and rebranded it ‘Lovember’. We use it as a time to be intentional; to show random acts of generosity and lovingkindness to people. We bake, we package up chocolates, we write cards and we share them with teachers, shop keepers, the lolly pop lady, delivery drivers, our neighbours, our friends, our church family and so on. People are often very touched. This year I feel challenged to go a step further. I’m praying that this year, when someone asks why we are doing it (which they sometimes do) I will be bold enough to tell them that it is an overflow of God’s generosity to us. That we love to look for ways to be generous because God has been so incredibly kind to us. Practically, with my voice as it is, this is going to be harder than I imagined (so do please pray for me!) but I feel convicted that I mustn’t believe the lie that unless I have my voice I am useless to God. He will make a way. Even if it’s a different way.
At our last Staycation David Lavery helpfully said something along the lines of “Christians aren’t the only ones who are generous. If we don’t give God the glory for our acts of generosity and lovingkindness who gets that glory? Us.” That has really stayed with me. We think people will join the dots, make the connection that the good things they see in us is the fruit of walking with God. But I’m not sure that’s always the case. As we know, there are many kind and caring and generous-hearted people who aren’t Christians (which is very humbling).
Boldness is what the Holy Spirit is convicting me about this year. How about you? Would you join us this Lovember? Think of a few people you could bless in some way? It could be something practical like taking your neighbours bins out or doing a litter pick. It could be offering to pray for people in your phone contacts this month. It could be surprising someone with a treat and making them feel seen and appreciated. If you’re up for letting the Spirit stir your heart again in this way, ask Him what you can do together to bless those around you and see Him glorified in your life in the little ordinary every day moments.
“Freely you have received, freely give…”
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