Lent Challenge 1

Our challenge this week is to do an act of generosity. How can you go outside of what you normally do? You could pay for coffee of the person behind you at Tim Horton’s, you could donate to a new charity online, you could sign up to volunteer at WBCM, or somewhere else that is close to your heart. Think about all the gifts and abundance you have in your life, how can you share that with someone in need?

Join us in the conversation on Facebook this week, or send your comments to ce@ucim.org to be shared.

Random Generosity – By Gord

“Random” may be the best word for this exercise, but it is still not quite right.  To some “random” might mean “impetuous”, “without rhyme or reason”, “selective”, “occasional”.  It could be flighty, insensitive, and even hurtful.  With those meanings, it would be an oxymoron to call “random” generosity a spiritual discipline. 

Rather the practice of random generosity is the exercise of being ready to offer generosity (of any kind at any time) where it is unexpected, where there is no prior relationship, where the moment to be generous arrives unplanned, but we are primed to make generosity our first and usual response, rather than suspicion, or parsimonious-ness (with due apologies to parsons). 

Generosity – By Stacey

When I was a teenager, my family and I lived in Thompson, MB. It seemed to me at the time that wherever you went, someone was always asking you for something, some change or a cigarette. My Dad often went for a walk in the mornings and he would always make sure to carry some extra change in his pockets when he went out, so he would always have something to give when he was asked. As a teenager, I couldn’t understand his behaviour, what a waste of money, to give it to someone who was likely to go and waste it on cigarettes or alcohol, this wouldn’t help anyone and would only make the problem worse.

Looking back now, I have gained a better understanding of my father, and of the issues and problems associated with my careless attitude at the time, and I have begun to see the simplicity and beauty of my father’s generosity. Is it up to me to judge? Is it up to me to set conditions on the gifts that I can share out of my own abundance? Or, should I offer what help I can, whether a handful of small change, a donation to an organization that helps others, or a cup of coffee to someone who is cold and thirsty? I don’t know that person’s story, have never walked in their shoes, and so I can offer what I can spare, without judgement. As an adult, I try to remember my father’s example and keep some spare change with me wherever I go. 

This article gives a great perspective on God’s promise of abundance.

Enough is Enough By Walter Brueggemann

In this Ted Talk, Sasha Dichter of the Acumen Fund shares the results of his month “Generosity Experiment”.

The Generosity Experiment

No sure where to start? In this article from Becoming Minimalist, find some tips to add more generosity in your daily life.

10 Little Ways to Become More Generous

Have you ever read the story of Stone Soup? It’s a great one to teach kids and adults the power of sharing when everyone comes together.

Watch one of these movies:

“Yes Man” with Jim Carey – in which Jim’s character makes a pledge to say “yes” to everyone who asks.  

“Pay it Forward” with Haley Joel Osment, Helen Hunt, and Kevin Spacey – in which a young student proposes an idea to change the world.

“Babette’s Feast” a refugee housekeeper prepares a lavish meal that melts rigid hearts.

“Groundhog’s Day” with Bill Murray – in which an ego-centric weatherman relives the same day over and over, and slowly learns life’s secret to happiness.

Story about Generosity

Mahatma Gandhi went from city to city, village to village collecting funds for the Charkha Sangh. During one of his tours he addressed a meeting in Orissa. After his speech a poor old woman got up. She was bent with age, her hair was grey and her clothes were in tatters. The volunteers tried to stop her, but she fought her way to the place where Gandhi was sitting. 

“I must see him,” she insisted and going up to Gandhi touched his feet. 

Then from the folds of her sari she brought out a copper coin and placed it at his feet. Gandhi picked up the copper coin and put it away carefully. The Charkha Sangh funds were under the charge of Jamnalal Bajaj. 

He asked Gandhi for the coin but Gandhi refused “I keep cheques worth thousands of rupees for the Charkha Sangh,” Jamnalal Bajaj said laughingly “yet you won’t trust me with a copper coin.” 

“This copper coin is worth much more than those thousands” Gandhi said. “If a man has several lakhs and he gives away a thousand or two, it doesn’t mean much.But this coin was perhaps all that the poor woman possessed. She gave me all she had. That was very generous of her. What a great sacrifice she made. That is why I value this copper coin more than a crore of rupees.” 

source: http://www.english-for-students.com/generosity.html

Wesley’s Wealth

A few hundred years ago the great preacher and evangelist John Wesley showed us another way. Wesley lived in economically uncertain times, yet from humble beginnings he became so well known that his income eventually reached 1400 pounds per year. In 2001 this would be the equivalent of earning around $300,000.

So what did he do with all this wealth? Did he tithe it? No. Wesley went way beyond tithing. He disciplined himself to live on just 30 pounds of the 1400 pounds he earned every year. He gave away 98% of all he earned and lived on just 2%!

Wesley once preached a sermon on Luke 16.9. In it he spelled out his philosophy: money is a tool that can be used for great good or great ill. “It is an excellent gift of God” he claimed, “answering the noblest ends. In the hands of his children, it is food for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, raiment for the naked: It gives to the traveller and the stranger where to lay his head. By it we may supply the place of an husband to the widow, and of a father to the fatherless. We maybe a defence for the oppressed, a means of health to the sick, of ease to them that are in pain; it may be as eyes to the blind, as feet to the lame; yea, a lifter up from the gates of death! It is therefore of the highest concern that all who fear God know how to employ this valuable talent; that they be instructed how it may answer these glorious ends, and in the highest degree.”

He went on to spell out three simple rules which can guide us: gain all you can, save all you can, give all you can.

Wesley lived out these principles, on another occasion remarking: , “If I leave behind me ten pounds…you and all mankind [can] bear witness against me, that I have lived and died a thief and a robber.”

Source: information about Wesley reported in Christian History Newsletter, November 30, 2001. 

And the People Said

a very beautiful and profound service …

It touched me very deeply

in a way that I can’t explain with any clarity.

All I can say it was a deep and exquisite experience.

Ash Wednesday Attendee

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The United Church in Meadowood

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