Join us for Eastminster’s 40acts Challenge to live generously for the next 40 days! Learn more.
If you’re in the blessed position to receive a salary, the few days between being paid and the bills going out offer a great opportunity to give a ‘payday treat’ to someone else. Instead of focusing on your needs and obligations, turn your attention to someone nearby. Not in work at the moment? Join in with friends and think home-spun.
GREEN: Take cakes or biscuits with you to share.
AMBER: Suggest drinks or dinner after work to celebrate the end of the month.
RED: Think of someone who’s in need of a treat and get them something special or take them out to the cinema or for a meal.
“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.Mark 12:41-44 NIV
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.’“
I am the second of five children – I have four sisters and I adore them all. My parents are endlessly generous to us all. They also happened to be endlessly generous to the many other people who graced our household throughout my childhood (at times it felt as if half of Bristol lived with us).
Growing up I learnt of an interesting monthly rhythm. At first all I knew was that ‘RED’ was bad and ‘BLACK’ was good, and that if we were in the ‘BLACK’ zone, it was a good time to ask mum for a new pair of football boots that I probably didn’t need.
But the ‘RED’ zone was frustrating for me. Not because I couldn’t ask for new boots, but because when my sisters, or lodgers, or people from the community asked for something, or broke something, or needed something, I would see my parents doing everything they could to say yes. That is the endlessly generous trait that I referred to earlier.
Half of me hated their generosity because I am protective of them; the other half was and still is inspired to be generous regardless of my financial situation. With my parents, the money may have run out but the generosity never did.
When I read about the sacrifice of the poor widow in the book of Mark, I have a great sense of familiarity – like when someone describes someone you know, without knowing that you know them.
I don’t know about you, but it is the end of the month so I’m back in the ‘BLACK’ zone, the tight grip on my wallet has loosened a little. Today I can reflect on those examples of sacrificial generosity and think about treating someone who isn’t me.
Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ When we are generous, we can know that He is watching and saying thank you.
Zac lives in south London with his wife Serena. He co-runs a small filmmaking agency called Candour, making films for brands and short documentaries for charities.
Candour means honest, frank, upright – integrity is a key part of their work and is inspired by the way that Jesus communicated in the Gospels.