Living generously

25 02 2011

Jesus’ teaching is all about living generously –

  • think of the best thing you can do for the worst person..and do it
  • think of what you would really like someone to do for you…and do it for them
  • think of someone that you would like to be nasty to…be kind to them instead

Simple! Sorted!  If only…


My father-in-law never forgot the generous love of God in his life.  One of his favourite stories in the Bible was one that I read the other day – the story of King David and Mephibosheth in 2 Samuel 9.  His eyes sparkled as he read it aloud – “Is anyone still alive from Saul’s family? If so, I want to show God’s kindness to them.”  (Context? – David and Saul were not best buddies;  David has spent years of his life fleeing from his enemy Saul; you can read about that in 1 Samuel chapters 18 and following.)

David is told that Saul’s grandson Mephibosheth is alive but that, “he is crippled in both feet.”  I can only assume that this rider is equivalent to, “Yes, but you won’t want anything to do with him.”  Indeed Mephibosheth describes himself as “a dead dog”.

David’s reaction?

He showers him with generosity.

I think my father-in-law, also a David, loved the story because he saw it as a picture of God’s generosity to him.   The fact that he too had difficulty walking because of arthritic hips added poignancy.  He knew he was deeply loved and had been invited to “eat at the king’s table”; he requested that his headstone bear the words  “A sinner saved by grace.”

So how do I learn to live generously?

Tom Wright pulls the threads together for me in his book Luke for Everyone – “Only when people discover that this is the sort of God [a God of grace and love] they are dealing with will they have any chance of making this way of life their own.”

And I think it’s something to do with keeping short accounts – facing up to failures, against God and against other people, dealing with stuff promptly, and not being  like Tam O’Shanter’s missus

“Gathering her brows like gathering storm, nursing her wrath to keep it warm.”




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