Monday, January 07, 2008

Generous Living

Yesterday I preached on discipleship (click to listen) and the importance and priority of following Jesus and I tried not to pull any punches. I hoped to share how following Jesus is both costly but rich in reward, as Martin Luther said a religion that costs nothing, suffers nothing and gives nothing is worth nothing.

But I left with the feeling that despite my best efforts, the message I unwittingly communicated was "DO MORE" when I was passionately hoping to communicate "LOVE MORE". Sometimes in order to love more we need to DO less.

Fortunately, as the main speaker in our church I have another opportunity to correct this misconception and I'll be attempting to unpack what it might look like to follow Christi in a busy, harried and hassled world with a talk titled, "Generous Living".

What this means is be willing to open up our lives to the presence of another. Most of us open up to people we love, partners, children, close friends - our nearest and dearest. Christ calls us to love our enemies and to head to the byways and alleys of our world to seek out the crippled and the lame and invite them too the banquet of the king. Where I live those translate into single mums abandoned by yet another responsibility averse male, teenagers and young people who literally have no ambition, no drive, no aim in life other than to claim dole and then drink it and many others. Loving those people isn't easy, extra grace is required and I don't think I can do it on my own.

Yet to be able to even try, I need to make room first of all in my heart and then in my diary. If there's no space to be with someone then there's no way to love them. Programmes can help but they can't hug. Sometimes those 'others' are in a foreign land but they hold our hearts, babies with HIV, the orphans and widows of this world. Sometimes those others are across the street.

Generous living makes room to include others into our lives, to do what we are doing, be it washing the car, walking the dog or watching a film. There may not be room for everyone person in your life, which is why it takes a community to reach a community but if there's not room for the least of these is there really room for Jesus?


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