the art of giving: reflections

By Fiona Mearns | 28 June 2013

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. (James 1:22-24)

Let’s rewind to the start of this series when we spoke of unpacking Biblical lessons; lessons that would help us to discover abundant generosity - giving designed to impact our whole lives, to leave us fundamentally changed.

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Dregs

By Debbie Wright | 21 June 2013 | Comments (5)

"But why do we get the old sofa and not the new one?" was the rather provocative question our vicar asked from the pulpit one Sunday morning. A friend of mine, a vicar’s wife with small children also lamented the unwanted goods members of the congregation would donate and occasionally press on her. "The last straw was the very large and grubby children’s toy lion that I was expected to gratefully receive and be thankful for. The insistent donor ‘s parting words: 'a bit of a clean up and it will be as good as new' was left ringing in my ears as this huge saggy lion, way past it’s best - its glass eyes staring up at me – sat in my hall."

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Price Tag

By Fiona Mearns | 14 June 2013

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it. Matthew 13:45

What makes something valuable?

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The Receiving End

By Myles Wilson | 7 June 2013

This story starts a generation ago, in 1947. It was a year after my parents, Joe and Annie Wilson, had got married and they faced a challenging decision. Would they go to China as missionaries? They were a young working class couple, my dad an electrician, my mum a waitress in a transport cafe until they moved town after their marriage. A friend was going to China with China Inland Mission (now known as OMF) and they had the chance to go with her.

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The Debt Factor

By Anonymous | 31 May 2013 | Comments (3)

When I was at my lowest financial point, about to be plunged into thousands of pounds worth of debt, I decided to start giving. I did it with the same motion as someone about to be dunked under water; I closed my eyes and held my breath.

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no strings attached

By Sarah Clayton | 24 May 2013

“And we still have £30k set aside, which was kindly left in Mabel Dawsey’s will, towards the parish’s work with lame animals…”

OK, this is a slightly ridiculous example, but it’s amazing how many churches and charities are sitting on funds which can’t be touched because they have to be used for the purpose specified by the giver.

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#awkward

By Anonymous | 17 May 2013 | Comments (1)

So you think receiving’s difficult? Sometimes, there is nothing more awkward than giving a gift to someone!

“Should I sneak it under their door?” “Will they feel really awkward that I know they’re struggling?” “Will they feel like a charity case?” Aaaargh!

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Self Made Man?

By Anonymous | 10 May 2013

Receiving is hard. We’re raised in a world where gaining and acquiring – receiving, in other words – is only acceptable if you work hard and earn it, or if you somehow ‘get lucky’.

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dropping the baton?

By Anonymous | 3 May 2013 | Comments (1)

I recently attended the funerals of two amazing people; both of whom left gaping holes when they exited this world before 65. Listening to their families and friends telling stories of how much both had packed into their years, and the inspiring ways they’d lived to serve God and others, I found myself feeling gutted that I hadn’t known them better.

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The T-Word

By Anonymous | 26 April 2013 | Comments (2)

I used to have really strong views on tithing.  It used to really wind me up that I was obeying the law and paying my church taxes while others had signed up unfairly to the equivalent of the ‘church dole’, resulting in church ministries suffering and modern day Levites (those who lead us in our worship at church) struggling to get by on measly salaries…

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