Posted: 02 December 2015

Advent: God’s ways are not to give leftovers

 The Christmas story - of God abiding with us - is one of extravagant generosity. Mark Russell calls us to reflect this extravagant generosity in the everyday actions that make up our life in today's Advent calendar entry

Until recently the legend that is Archbishop Desmond Tutu was President of Church Army, the Christian organisation which I have the privilege of leading. He once said ‘Do your little bit of good where you are; it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world’.

I found myself really challenged by this message and have been trying to put it into practice.  I was walking into a supermarket in Sheffield near to where I live, and I saw a homeless man sat on the pavement outside. Let’s call him Andrew and he is 32 years old. I gave him the only change I had, and I sat on the pavement next to him and asked him to talk to me about how life was for him.  He talked and talked and suddenly I realised that the gift of my time was far more important than the few coins I had put in his plastic cup. As I got up to leave I asked him if there was anything else I could do, and he said he needed a warm waterproof coat for the winter. 

That if he got wet it could literally kill him.

I went home and looked through my wardrobe, and found a coat I could give him. It was nice, warm and yes waterproof, but it was the coat I didn’t really intend to wear anymore.  And I felt this voice inside saying that I should instead give him my best waterproof coat, the Barbour jacket that cost me a fortune. So I went back and gave Andrew my coat. He stood up, asked if he could hug me, and he cried and just kept saying thank you.  I left to go home, knowing that the first time he put his hand inside the pocket he would find a note saying ‘God loves you and I am praying for you’.

How should we follow God’s ways?

David writes in Psalm 25.4 ‘make me know your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths’. Eugene Peterson translates that as ‘show me how you word God, school me in your ways’.  God’s ways are not to give leftovers, or what we don’t want. This Advent we remember that God gave his best, his all, his own Son. God wants to teach us his ways, to be extraordinarily, extravagantly generous.

Where today could you do a random act of kindness, your little bit of good, and together, we can indeed change the world.


By Mark Russell - Guest bloggers

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