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The generous host: showing people Jesus during a summer of sport

Photo of Sam Hall Sam Hall
4 min

As a summer of sport heads our way there are two things about generosity that I think we need to consider. The first thing is that generosity is supposed to be a way of living and not just about giving money away; in fact, you don’t need lots of money in order to be generous. The second thing is that when people meet Christians they are supposed to encounter Jesus through what we say and do.

With this summer promising to be a sporting extravaganza with both Euro 2024 and Paris Olympics capturing the attention of people across the country, we might just have an ideal opportunity to do both of those things – demonstrate generosity and show people Jesus. 

Gather people around a sporting event  

Sporting events have the opportunity to draw people together as they look to celebrate the success of the national team. But finding a venue where one and all are welcomed can sometimes be hard to find. We can show our generosity by hosting such events and bringing people together. But what about showing people Jesus?

Recently I heard a sermon on the generosity of Jesus from Mark 10 that can really help us.

We might think it would be hard for Jesus – someone who had very little in terms of physical possessions – to show His generosity to others. However, going back to my first point above, you don’t need lots of money to show people your generosity.

Four ways to show people Jesus

Sometimes being generous is just about being there and being available for others. In Mark 10 Jesus displayed His generosity in this manner and in four distinct ways – four ways that didn’t require Him to spend any money at all and four ways which we can follow and show people Jesus this summer: time, attention, ability and compassion.

  1. Time
    Jesus welcomed the little children to Him even after a long, hard day of ministering and healing. He was generous with His time and was always available for people. He never turned them away. This summer could we open our homes to welcome in those around us to enjoy time together by watching a session at the Olympics or a game at the Euros? It doesn’t have to be complicated and well thought out; it begins with simply setting aside some time.
  2. Attention
    Jesus not only gave up His time, but He also sat and was present mentally with the children throughout His encounter with them. He invited them to Him and then He showed them His attentiveness. We can do the same. If we are to have people over, let’s make sure that we intentionally ‘host’ those we have over, showing interest in them and seeking to enter into conversation. Obviously, that needs to be appropriately timed. Don’t start a deep and meaningful conversation when the 100m final is about to start or the penalty shoot-out begins.
  3. Ability
    Jesus spent so much time sharing and healing others, including the little children, and He always gave them what He had. Is there opportunity to not only have people over but also to use it as an opportunity to bless them with food and drink? We can use whatever we have at our disposal to bless people and show them generosity.
  4. Compassion
    Jesus didn’t just spend time with the respected, high-profile members of society but women and children too. In Jewish culture this would not have been the norm. Maybe, just maybe, as we invite people around, we can include those on our street we wouldn’t normally talk to. That doesn’t mean we can’t invite the friendly next-door neighbour who we regularly stop to chat to, but why not do both?

Of course, hospitality can extend further afield than your own home. While hosting a get-together in a bigger venue may feel like it loses some of the personal touch, it does provide opportunities and benefits in how you can reach out, engage and bless your friends and local community. Jesus did, after all, engage with others on both the small and big scale. If you’re looking to host something at your church, then Christians in Sport have produced a pack  you can use to make an afternoon/evening of it!

This summer let’s use the opportunities we have to enjoy sport but also to bless others with our generosity. Who is it that you have on your heart to welcome into your home? When was your church last able to open its doors to give people the opportunity to gather outside of the weekly service? This could be the time! You never know the relationships this may start or strengthen and the conversations this can lead to.

More on generosity

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Written by

Sam Hall

Sam joined Stewardship in 2015 after finishing a degree in International Development at the University of Northampton. As a Philanthropy Account Manager, he works with clients to provide support and advice in meeting the more complex aspects of giving.

Sam supports charities that use football to resolve conflict as well as international development charities aiming to end poverty around the world.

He is deeply committed to causes in International Aid, Sport and Recreation, and Physical & Mental health.