Generosity   Leave a comment

This morning during the sermon I became convicted about a certain part of our homesteading plan that is mostly my doing, namely, not planting a lot of fruits and vegetables in the front yard because we live in an area where people, if we had no dogs, would unashamedly walk into our backyard and steal things right from our garden and trees. At least, that’s what I say my reason is. I suppose, at it’s most basic it truly is. No one likes to have people steal from them. Even the most pious people I know complain about this situation in their own neighborhoods and gardens. So I must be justified in my feelings. But during the sermon I had to examine what those feelings actually were. Am I angry because theft can dissolve the very fabric of our society, or am I angry because, at my core, I am an ungenerous person? I didn’t have to think long and hard to come to the conclusion that it’s the latter.

Over the past year, since we left our old church and way of life and got to know different Christians, I have become increasingly convicted of this fact. Not that there weren’t generous people in our old church, there were some, but it wasn’t something that you could easily see as an overarching principle in the behavior of most people my age. Older people, yes. My age, we could be generous to each other, within our church, but most of us couldn’t be bothered to do much more. Even with the generosity we gave to each other, there seemed to be an almost, well, greed to it. Almost like the “generosity” I was raised with. An “I’ll scratch your back so you’ll scratch mine.” My mother was oft to remind me that she helped me so that some day I would help her. This was her view of Christian charity. Unfortunately, most of my family, especially the one’s claiming Christ, on both sides, were very much like that. There was a certain “what’s in it for me?” attitude. This has long been my thinking. Even now, when someone gives me something, I wonder what strings are attached, what does that person want from me? I just simply cannot believe that anyone could just be kind.

But things don’t operate like that at our new church. I have been almost appalled at the generosity of the people I’ve met. They are generous with money, time, love, compassion. I have never seen this before in my life….and I have gone to church since birth.

Now, I suppose it was going on around me, but a child’s first impressions are always what is in the home. My home life was where I got my picture of Christianity and it made me greedy, unbendable, judgmental.

So, when it came time to start planning our gardens, I decided that we should just do root plants out front. They are harder to tell if they are ready to be picked if you are just walking by our yard.

God, being a creative fellow, likes to show me things in creative ways.

1) We did not plan on planting any trees in the front yard, and definitely not a fruit tree. As we walked to Sunday School after dropping the kids off in their classes, we noticed how beautiful the trees in front of our church’s administration building looked as the leaves are changing colors dramatically now. We discussed the possibility of planting a small tree (though not a fruit tree) in the front yard.

2) We had a guest speaker in our Sunday School class who spoke of a recent incident that provoked me. He shared that a couple had recently moved into his neighborhood who was incredibly difficult. They complained about everything not matter what. Before Christmas, our speaker takes gift baskets around to business customers & associates, friends, and neighbors. As he was out delivering, he felt the Spirit tell him to take a basket to these people. He didn’t want to but he couldn’t find a good reason not to except for the fact that they were such a source of annoyance to him. When he delivered it they were shocked and they asked him who sent it. He explained that he did, then was subsequently able to share the story of why he delivered these gifts and invite them to church. An invitation they gladly accepted.

3) Then there was the sermon. Now, the fellow who shared, could not have known what the sermon would contain, because it hadn’t been preached yet, and I’m fairly certain that the pastor didn’t run her sermon by him for review. 😉 Basically the pastor spoke of how unfair God is to us…not treating us as we deserve. If you’ve not attended church this basically is a way we are reminded of the great work God did for us, sending His own Son to die for us while we were still in rebellion to Him. That He loved us, even though we were, well, complaining about everything. I’m not eloquent at repeating other’s words so I’ll post a link to the sermon on Vimeo when they post it later this week. Anyway, she went on to remind of of God’s generosity. Her words were “God is illogically generous.”

God is illogically generous. It is pretty illogical, however nice it might be to have more growing room, to plant anything passers-by can take from our front yard. Of course, most people probably won’t take a lot. Considering the size of our property, enormous by city standards, we will probably do just fine. It will give us more winter growing room since it gets full sun while the backyard will be in the shade a lot of winter making it too cold to grow things well.

Most importantly, what am I teaching my kids? Do I want to teach them to be generous like the people we’ve met the past year? I desire for them to see, in an obvious way, that we have been transformed by Christ. I don’t think it could get any more obvious to them, especially when all they hear from everyone else, the exact opposite. If we are truly going to be different than the rest of the world, I can’t imagine a more obvious place to start. Pretty Undignified.

Happy Sabbath. 🙂

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Posted December 30, 2012 by Sara-Stanley in In the Beginning

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