Gladness and Generosity
It is often the little things we learn in childhood that give us a bedrock of how to live as we’re older. Who remembers
‘Count your blessings, count them one by one.
Count your blessings see what God has done’?
I never went to Sunday School, but it has been sung to me since. A more modern children’s song says,
‘Love is like a magic penny,
hold it tight and you won’t have any.
Give it away and you’ll have so many
they roll all over the floor’.
Simple understandings of gladness and generosity but no less important because of their simplicity.
St David is renowned for saying ‘Be joyful, do the little things that I have shown you’. Being glad for what we have in life can be such a little thing. Being generous with who we are can be so simple. But both of these attitudes – Gladness and Generosity – can sometimes feel like a great burden or an impossible challenge.
How can I be glad when my world is not the way I want it to be?
What can I be generous with when I have so little?
The art of generous and joyful living is one that develops a lightness of touch to the way we live and the possessions we own. When Jesus asks us to ‘consider the flowers of the field (Matthew 6:28)’, he is encouraging us to loosen our grip on the need to have things. ‘Alone, God sufficeth’ is a phrase from Northumbria Community midday prayer. It is not the ownership of material goods or the accumulation of wealth that is either the source or the point of life. If I am assured of God’s love, then I can live life to the full whether I have vast amounts of worldly wealth or none (although Jesus points out it’s harder to do that for the wealthy [Mark 10:25])
So, what is gladness about if it’s not about celebrating all I’ve earned? It’s about giving thanks for the little things. Simple as this may sound, here is the root of our Christian living – to appreciate the sunrise, the birdsong, the basic provision of food and shelter. We can find ourselves longing for more and in the process, we can begin to distain what we already have.
What can generosity be if I only have just enough for myself? It’s about living with an open heart. Simple as it sounds, here is the root of our Christian living – to look to the needs of others, sharing time and conversation, being a listening ear or a helpful companion. When we lock ourselves away behind the wall of ‘being too busy’ then we begin to see our lives as more important than those we are in fellowship with.
This month, through our worship and fellowship groups we will be looking at the Holy Habit of ‘Gladness and Generosity’. May we celebrate the love that unites us, find new ways of sharing it and discover in Christ that we have so much more to rejoice about than we ever really knew.
Yours in Christ,