These are interesting times politically at the moment with the Government being a coalition and coming to terms with what that means and how that works and their response to dealing with the budget deficit in what they hope is the aftermath to the economic crisis of recent months. Already there are the occasional voices from their midst expressing disquiet over their response in the latest spending review, suggestions that they are cutting too hard and too fast, and not protecting the poorest and most vulnerable. Whether these voices are right or not, time will tell.
We’re being told that the year ahead is one in which many of us will have to tighten our belts and be careful with our spending. There is no doubt that as a nation maybe we have been to swift to spend that which we haven’t got and so made ourselves financially fragile should things go wrong as they have done. It will be good for our nation perhaps to relearn the value of patience, saving, and resisting the drive to measure status by material wealth. The danger, though, is that we take this call to be ‘frugal’ too far and turn it into a drive to be selfish, to hold on to our money for ourselves. This is just as wrong as spending what we do not have in order to accumulate.
Marijke Hoek, of the Evangelical Alliance recently wrote some challenging words, calling us to live prophetic lives in the coming days,
‘The art of living prophetically has everything to do with finding imaginative, new angles and themes for the current dominant stories in our nation – putting some critical yeast into a large amount of dough. In a time when austerity is the order of the day, can we live lives that are marked by generosity? The Christian community can pursue at all times a radical discontinuity from the status quo, working out impossible dreams and overcoming impossible obstacles.
As Jesus’ parables were provocative stories that invited people to leave conventional understanding and encounter new and potentially transformative views, could our stories, themes and viewpoints have the potential to awaken consciousness in society? That way, while being a minority, we faithfully tell the story of Christ.’
Do we have the courage to stand up and be such a generous community? Now is the time to find the truth of Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:25-34 where we are called not to worry about what we shall wear or be clothed in, but instead to put God’s Kingdom first, and trust him to provide for our needs. And what is God’s Kingdom? A place where the poor are fed, and the vulnerable protected, and where generosity is enjoyed!
Church Newsletter article for Sunday 31st October 2010