One of the classic Western nursery rhymes is ‘Humpty Dumpty’. Humpty Dumpty is a humanised egg, who falls off a wall and breaks. I’m reminded of him because his story seems to sum up our situation at the moment. There is this collective sense that the Humpty Dumpty of the economic world that we once knew and loved has had a great fall, and no one really knows how to put it back together again. We live in difficult times: political unrest and protests, pandemics, a trade war and economic recession. How are we to respond?
On the one hand, we don’t want to minimize the pain that many are going through. Life is different and difficult, and we have to make adjustments. But on the other hand, we could also recognise the opportunities for generosity during difficulty.
The Apostle Paul shared with Corinthians about the example of the Macedonian churches. He said, ‘In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability’ (2 Cor. 8:2-3). The difficulties of these Macedonian Christians didn’t constrain their generosity. Difficulties magnified their generosity.
How was this possible?
Paul said it came about as a response to the gospel. In the gospel, we recognise the incredible generosity of Jesus. ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich’ (2 Cor. 8:9). Jesus gave himself for us, so that we can have the riches of an eternal relationship with God. The Macedonians rejoiced in God’s goodness, and so can we.
This Sunday, there will be a finance update. We give thanks for God’s continual provision upon St Andrew’s. In these difficult economic times, the Church Council and staff have endeavoured to minimize costs and steward our resources wisely. We want to be prudent. However, we also want to look for opportunities to grow God’s kingdom and demonstrate gospel generosity. Our city desperately needs the hope we hear in the gospel.
I want to warmly encourage you to prayerfully consider your giving; to make giving a planned, regular and sacrificial habit. The ministries of St Andrew’s are dependent on how you steward the gifts that God gives you. We rejoice in our giving because of God’s goodness to us.