As we come to the end of our Open Hand series, I’ve been thinking more and more about the long term impact of our journey into generosity as a community. We’re all in different places on this path, but something has definitely shifted and we’re already beginning to hear wonderful stories of God’s faithfulness and provision as people have begun to act in obedient response to God’s promises around tithing and giving.
This is only possible because of the astonishing generosity of our loving Father God. His promises are true and faithful. We don’t ever give to get back from Him… instead, we get to give because He is worthy of all that we are and all that we have. The fact that He responds with such favour and blessing on our lives is a benefit, but it isn’t our motivation. We’re moved by the chance to walk closer to Jesus, embracing the model of the Father’s generous heart to us all.
So as these stories of generosity and provision have begun to come in, I’ve been thrilled to see such incredible things happen so quickly. But something deeper has been growing in my heart and in our hearts as a leadership team. Together, we’ve been dreaming of what could happen over the years and generations ahead in our community if we all press onwards deeper into this journey of astonishing generosity, investing and sacrificing for the future of our city and God’s dream of what would happen far beyond our church.
We’re dreaming of more than just stories of personal provision and breakthroughs, though surely we will see many, many more of those. We’re dreaming of city breakthroughs, historic provision, and life changing generosity that cannot be held in the walls of any church, but must pour out over the lives of all who live in our community and beyond.
Imagine with me a time of such generosity that we are able to provide with joy enough to help our struggling NHS. Imagine if we unlocked such provision and financial blessing that we could fund our schools across our community with more than just their needs? What if we could become a people who no longer need to request grants or outside funding for projects, but instead we become the source of grants and funding for organisations and our local council as they seek to serve those in need across our city? What if we were able to fund new start-up businesses creating new jobs in our community, realising ground-breaking ideas, and releasing new opportunity for all who live here?
What would our city look like in 100 years if we become the joyful conduits of God’s generosity now? We know we can’t ‘out give’ God. In fact, His heart for favour on our community is wider than any ocean, ready to bless, and overflowing with love. Incredibly, we get to be the instruments of His wondrous generous heart here and now, investing for God’s good future over our city that we may not see fully of in our lifetimes.
This journey of generosity has never been about our church finances… it’s always been about our hearts for God and God’s heart for our wider community and beyond. If we long to step off the map we’ve known into the undiscovered country of God’s good future for all the people of our community, we can only do that by embracing a journey of astonishing generosity fired by our absolute surrender to our Saviour who says, “Behold, I am making all things new!” (Revelation 21:5 NASB).