For the Love of God it’s Time to be Generous! That’s the slogan of the new campaign being run by the Methodist Church. It’s asking us to be generous with both our time and our money. Don’t worry – this isn’t a drive asking for money for the church roof or such like! Rather, it’s encouraging us to embrace our heritage both as Christians and as Methodists. As Christians a generous life should already be what we’re living, not just because it’s good or worthy but because we want to respond to and reflect the generosity that God has shown us: generosity in creation and in the way that he died for us on the cross.
As Methodists we are part of a long line of people who have given their time and money in the service of the poor. Not least among these people was John Wesley. One of his most famous sayings is: ‘Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can’. And here was a person who practiced what he preached. Early in his ministry, Wesley’s income amounted to a little over £3,000 in today’s values and his living expenses were roughly equivalent to £2,800, so he had about £200 to give away. When his income doubled, he still managed to live on about £2,800, so he had more than £3,200 in today’s money to give to the poor. When his income rose to the equivalent of about £10,000 Wesley still maintained his expenses at his original level and gave the rest away. We don’t have to replicate his actions exactly but we should be living in a spirit of generosity. So as we approach that ultimate act of generosity – God’s self-sacrifice on the cross – perhaps think about how you spend your money and time – could you be more generous?