Dear Church Family
Next weekend my new book, A-Z of Discipleship is being launched. One of its short chapters is 'G is for Giving'. Writing that particular chapter helped me see again that giving really is at the heart of the Christian faith. God gave us the very best thing he had in giving us Jesus and he continues to give to us in multiple ways. Our response is to live a life of giving.
Our giving is expressed in all sorts of ways. In the hospitality of our homes. In visiting friends who are ill. In caring for those less well off. In speaking kind and encouraging words. But it starts with our giving to the Lord: in giving our very lives to him and then expressing that on a regular basis in giving him our worship, our prayers and our money.
In our materialistic culture, new disciples often find the giving of money to be one of there hardest parts of discipleship. But those who do give financially soon find that giving money is not only a discipline, but a joy and honour. I was reminded of this recently when someone, who'd discovered there was a particular need in the life of the church, thanked me for making them aware. They were pleased that their giving could make a real difference. That's why we have a Gift Day at The Belfrey this coming Sunday - providing each of us an opportunity to give beyond our regular giving, and support some people, projects and organisations that need our giving. So please do be asking the Lord what he's asking you to give, and enjoy knowing that your giving is making a big difference.
In addition to our individual giving, I hope that all that's done in the name of The Belfrey models this kind of generous giving. That's why we give generously to our Diocese and to mission partners. That's why we're pleased to be the New Wine network church for our area and one of the main churches behind the August New Wine Inspire conference in Thirsk. That's why our clergy and staff give away a proportion of their time outside of The Belfrey, to help others. Greg Downes, for instance, is away tomorrow training clergy and leaders in preparation for a large mission in the Penrith, entitled 'Moving Mountains 18'. And last week I spent a whole morning at St Hild College, training those who are about to be ordained as clergy in the North.
Giving. It's so counter-cultural. And yet so impactful. So biblical. So Kingdom of God. It's what we're called to do. It's how we're meant to be. So enjoy being a giver as we model ourselves on the greatest giver of all - our gracious, generous, giving Father.