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Generosity in the Floods

By Jutta Devenish | 14 January 2016

 Jutta Devenish works for Keswick Ministries and tells her experience of the Lake District floods.

The recent floods in Keswick were, in many ways, a distiller of people’s hearts. It’s in moments of despair like this that we can see what people are made of. Houses were flooded, livelihoods destroyed, shops ruined, and how did people react?

While some argued about whose fault it was, others just began serving.

Claire was one of those people. She is still recovering from a stroke, but when she saw the need in the community, she was ready to help, ready to do whatever it took. Her family managed on their own while she ran the food bank, and her sacrificial giving of time inspired others to give of their time and energy too.

Churches came together and helped, no matter their background or theological leanings. Local Christians realised that the command to love your neighbor was truly being put to the test, and stepped up to the challenge, helping to clear homes, clean up silt and mud or bring supplies.

Groups and companies also gave freely: the local supermarkets brought truck loads of supplies; The Good Book Company gave Christmas books for free; some from as far as Manchester ordered food to be delivered to those in need. The Lyons Club, the Rotary Club, Team Rubicon – a team of ex servicemen and the British Army, all came out to give of their time and expertise.

Others served quietly, just by being there. Liz was a volunteer in the local food bank. Her gentle nature and her willingness to ask: “Can I help?” really made a difference. Just by smiling, listening and encouraging, people felt that they were able to ask her for advice.  

Sometimes, a few simple words of kindness can express Christ’s love much better than anything else.

A Christian from a neighbouring town, seeing the stress in the faces of the town officials, and the tears in their eyes from fighting pure exhaustion, reached out and put his arm around one of them saying: “It is OK. You can do this – you are doing a great job!” The relief and smile on the official’s face showed it was the right word at the right time.

And in the midst of all this, Christians had the wonderful opportunity to hear those who did not know Jesus say: “Please, I do not know God, but would you pray for me at this time?”

They could see that Christ was using the water, the mess, the action, the willingness to help, the words of kindness and, indeed, their prayer, to break through the floods.

 

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Generous

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