Every Day Counts: Girls Who Live Generously
Radical Generosity: a love-fuelled response to our God who has given of himself and been so generous to us.
When I first learned that there were 40 million slaves in the world today, I couldn’t believe it. In my head, slavery was a thing of the past. But the truth is that there are more slaves in the world than ever before.
In the face of a problem so horrifying and huge – what should our response be?
A moment in Mark’s gospel helps us position our hearts.
While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, ‘Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.’ And they rebuked her harshly. ‘Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.’ (Mark 14:3-6)
The disciples immediately thought critically: they saw a problem, and started thinking about very practical ways that the problem could be fixed.
Jesus interrupts this train of thought. He brings our focus back to himself. This woman's generosity is totally fixed on the person of Jesus, and he honours her for it. I think we’ll find that in most situations God draws us back from contemplating the problem to contemplating him.
One of the reasons this is so important is that it stops us from being swallowed by despair at the scale of the issue, which can tempt us to give up before we’ve even started.
You might think, 40 million slaves. How could anything I do or give make a difference to that?
In moments like this it’s important to remember who God is.
God came into the world to save it. In an act of generosity even wilder than the woman who poured her perfume out over Jesus, God gave himself for us. He always outdoes us in generosity. He wants the world to change even more than we want the world to change.
So he sends us out - yes to get angry, yes to bring the corrupt to justice, yes to campaign for change.
But he sends us out from somewhere. We are not driven into action because of outrage, and we do not sink into apathy because of despair.
Instead, we can give of ourselves, and live in a radical generosity that is always renewed as a response to a God who has given of himself and been so generous to us.
So I guess what I am saying is that if you are feeling the tug of the disciples - what can I do what can I do what can I do - and if that is beginning to feel a bit heavy, tiring, or overwhelming, or if you feel no tug on your heart - if you feel apathetic, maybe despairing, maybe the whole thing is just too big:
I’d just like to encourage you that we don’t engage with injustice on our own steam. This, as the rest of our lives, is a love-fuelled response to the love of God.
CHALLENGE FROM IJM
It takes courage to look at our lives and ask hard questions…
But in faith, we know that God is with us, giving us everything we need.
There are 25 million people trapped in forced labour slavery today – and many of them are making things that we wear, eat, or use every day. It’s almost impossible to track every part of a supply chain, and too often, hidden in factories or farms far away, people are being exploited.
Some brands are doing more than others to stop this from happening. One way you can find out if brands that you love are making an effort to treat their workers well is by looking in to their supply chains. The app Good on You has done some of the hard work for us in that. This week, we challenge you to check out their website or download their app (it’s free!) and look up your favourite clothing brand. What are they doing to make sure that they don’t have slavery in their supply chains?
Isabel spent the first part of her life in California and still has the accent even though all she wants is to sound Scottish. She studied English Literature at Durham University and now is living in London, working in digital marketing for International Justice Mission.