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If You Knew The Gift of God...

By Steve Pierce | 15 November 2016 | Comments (1)

When Queen Victoria was staying at Balmoral the story goes that she was caught in the rain when walking and called at a cottage to borrow an umbrella. An irritated cottager, not recognising her caller offered a tatty umbrella. The next day a coachman returned the umbrella with her Majesty’s thanks. As he left he heard the cottager say, “If I had known who she was she could have had my best umbrella!”


Generosity flows when we sense that our gifts are making a real difference to people’s lives. Giving is transformed when it becomes part of our spiritual life. Our gifts would not be reluctant, squeezed by other financial pressures or unrelated to our income and lifestyle if we knew the one to whom we give. There is more. Maybe later the cottager realised she could have given her best umbrella and received a royal visitor into her home.


In John chapter 4 Jesus asks a woman at a well for a drink and she starts a tense religious discussion about Jews and Samaritans. The simple request to give something provokes argument, defensiveness and religious disagreement! Ring any bells? All too often our thinking around giving is caught up in the needs and the arguments which preoccupy us. But Jesus replies to the woman, “If you knew the gift of God you would ask me for living water”. Giving is born out of receiving (Phil 4:15) and that is why gratitude is one of the great drivers of charitable giving. If we knew the invitation to gift and grace set before us we would receive with open hands and our giving would be transformed.


But grace is free, never cheap. The pivotal point in receiving this living water from Jesus was the painful admission that her life is not all it could be. Here’s the thing: the gift of grace sheds light on the things in us that must be dealt with if we are to receive the gift offered to us. Sometimes the tender area is giving. Maybe we should give till it hurts but our threshold of pain is very low! Sometimes the defensiveness around giving is because our relationship with money needs addressing.


Having met Jesus the woman rushes to tell anyone who will listen about the man who told her everything she ever did. Giving and sharing flows from receiving. “Whoever is thirsty should come to me and drink... whoever believes in me, streams of life giving water will flow out of their heart” (John 7:38)


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Posted by Steve Pierce

Steve Pierce was born, raised, educated, ordained and employed in Liverpool and is the Director of Learning and Stewardship for the diocese of Liverpool. He supports, of course, Everton.



November 30, 2016 10:43 AM
Very relevant story, which certainly helps me to reflect on what Christ's coming amongst us means - and my/our response to Him...
thanks, and many blessings!

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