Living Social Justice

A blog about responding to poverty and injustice, everyday and in all sorts of ways

Archive for the month “April, 2013”

Is It More Blessed To Give?

What does a young Scottish minister preaching in the 19th Century have to say to us today? More than you’d think.

Photo Credit: angus clyne via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: angus clyne via Compfight cc

To start Monday off on a reflective note, here is a challenging excerpt from a sermon by preacher, pastor and poet, Robert Murray M’Cheyne (1813 – 1843):

“Now, dear Christians, some of you pray night and day to be branches of the true Vine: you pray to be made all over in the image of Christ. If so, you must be like him in giving. A branch bears the same kind of fruit as the tree. If you be branches at all, you must bear the same fruit.

“An old divine says well: “What would have become of us if Christ had been as saving of his blood as some men are of their money?”

“Objection I. My money is my own. Answer. Christ might have said, My blood is my own, my life is my own; no man forceth it from me: then where should we have been?

“Objection 2. The poor are undeserving. Answer. Christ might have said the same thing. They are wicked rebels against my Father’s law: shall I lay down my life for these? I will give to the good angels. But no, he left the ninety-nine, and came after the lost. He gave his blood for the undeserving.

“Objection 3. The poor may abuse it. Answer. Christ might have said the same; yea, with far greater truth. Christ knew that thousands would trample his blood under their feet; that most would despise it; that many would make it an excuse for sinning more; yet he gave his own blood.

Oh, my dear Christians! If you would be like Christ, give much, give often, give freely, to the vile and the poor, the thankless and the undeserving. Christ is glorious and happy, and so will you be. It is not your money I want, but your happiness. Remember his own word: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Some questions:

What part of this sermon challenged you the most?

Do you agree with M’Cheyne that we should give freely to people regardless of how they might use (or abuse) our generosity?

What does Christ-like generosity look like in your own life?

Post a comment or email us! We’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂

Video: I Like Giving

I Like Giving is a campaign to inspire people to live more generously. On their website are numerous moving videos of people who took something they really liked and found a way to bless someone else with it. Watch their promo video to feel inspired:

Here are a few more cool generosity resources:

  • Rhythms is a community of people who want to change the world by taking regular actions to build lifestyle rhythms of advocacy, contentment, connection and generosity. Sign up to receive helpful suggestions of actions you can take!
  • Stewardship offers practical information and support to promote a  community of generous givers. Check out their blog here!

Do you know of any others? Please share them with us!

Because of His Goodness

In today’s post, Common Good programme coordinator, Nathalie Koenig, reflects on how a revelation of God’s goodness should overflow into all we do. 

Photo Credit: Rachel Glasser via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Rachel Glasser via Compfight cc

God is good. As Christ-followers, we know this, but do we truly grasp the depth, height, and breadth of His goodness? Do we get it in all its glory?

When we use the lens of God’s goodness to explore what motivates us to live social justice, there is suddenly a deeper, more truth-filled dimension to the ‘why’ behind what we do or how we live out this mandate. It is out of this revelation of God’s goodness to us that we are motivated to be a part of His plan to restore all of His creation. We asked some of our partner organisations to add their thoughts to this conversation…

Read more…

Volunteer Q&A: Hospital Ministry

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Name: Dean Kietzmann

Congregation: Rondebosch PM

Occupation: Assistance Compliance Officer at an investment company

What sparked your interest or drew you to this initiative?

I was drawn to the concept of Hospital or Hospice Ministry towards the end of 2011 while watching Di and Nathan Gernetzsky’s journey through Di’s terminal cancer. While it must have been an incredibly painful time for them and their family, I couldn’t help but notice how blessed they both were to know Jesus, and for the love and support they received as the community rallied around them. As Rigby Wallace put it in one of the meetings, “We are helping a young woman walk her final road to be with God.” I began to reflect on how many people facing death don’t know Jesus, or don’t have someone to walk this final road with them. After chatting it through with a few elders and friends, “Hospital Ministry”, for want of a better name, was born early last year.

Can you tell us a bit about how you serve in Hospital Ministry?

A group of us meet every Thursday at Booth Memorial Hospital in Oranjezicht, Cape Town. We then split up and go and meet patients in various wards. We try spend at least 20 minutes or so with each patient we see, chatting to them, sharing the gospel, praying for them if they allow and generally trying to love them the way Jesus does. We try see the same patients from week to week to build relationships with them. We pray for the staff too.

What has been the most fulfilling part of your experience?

To pick one particular experience is very difficult. A constant theme, though, that everyone who has done Hospital Ministry has picked up on, is that we always seem to walk out more blessed than when we walked in. Our intention is to pour ourselves spiritually into the patients we see, and yet we regularly emerge more spiritually filled than when we walked in. We have seen countless miracles, broken lives made new, the sick healed, and the wandering and lost reunited to the Father.

Read more…

Praying for Discernment

This month’s newsletter looks at how we can discern the will of God in our daily lives. Join us as we pray for greater discernment as we respond to those around us. By Lindsay Sherring

As Christ-followers, we are called to respond to the needs of those around us, but this requires great discernment in order to know what the best response is for that person or situation. We need discernment not just in dealing with vulnerable people, but in dealing with our own personal life decisions as well. Should I give this person money? Should I drive them to a shelter? Should I take this job? Or marry this person? The decisions we need to make are endless.

We all want to make the right choice, but how do we respond to people amidst the busyness of our daily life? Unfortunately, there’s no clear cut formula to helping those in need around us. But we do serve an all-powerful and all-knowing God so our first response should always be to seek Him. It all comes down to God desiring us to be closer to Him and His will. As we walk closely with God, His whispers and desires become evident and our decisions begin to fall in line with His will.

This month, please pray…

  • That God’s desires and wisdom would become clear to you

It may sound simple, but asking God to place His desires on your heart is a great starting point to understanding His will. If we are not constantly seeking Him, it becomes harder to discern just what He wants for our lives. Ask God to give you wisdom and discernment to make the right choices.

  • That the fear of making a wrong decision won’t hinder action

There are many ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ ways of helping others and sometimes the fear of ‘doing justice incorrectly’ can overcome our desire to help and we end up not doing anything. Remember, God can restore and redeem any situation even if you think you’ve done the wrong thing. This doesn’t give us permission to flippantly ‘do justice’, rather it is a comfort to know that God has the ability to correct our mistakes and use them for His glory.

  • That we would be open to hear God speak in different ways

God can speak through His word, the people around you, industry professionals, articles you read, etc. We must take all of these messages and use our best judgement when faced with a situation that requires our action. It is important to remember that although there are various sources of information and ways to help those in need, God will never ask you to do something out of line with His word. Ask God to give you discernment to hear his voice through all of it.

  • That you seek and find the third way

Discernment is about finding the third way in many situations. A person may be asking you for money, you may want to drive them to the shelter, but what they really need is prayer. Don’t become so wrapped up in your own dos and don’ts of reaching out that you forget to listen to God’s promptings. Ask God to reveal people’s true needs so that you can respond appropriately in a Christ-like way.

– Lindsay is a member of the Common Ground Bosch PM congregation and is the fundraising coordinator at Common Good.

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