How good is your gift?

everything-in-common-catalogue001Australians give a lot of gifts – about $8.9 billion worth last year.

But how good were they? A jawdropping $500 million worth ended up back on e-Bay within a month and quite a few of them are probably nestled somewhere in landfill because really, who needs a Star Wars  themed toilet roll holder?

As people of faith, giving and generosity is central to our identity. We Christians are not only good at donating, but at reliably providing mince-based meals in a crisis and giving our time for the school fete. I have a  hunch, though, that the early church saw giving as being about much more than ‘one off’ acts of charity. In Acts, ‘everyone was together and shared everything in common, so that no one would have need’ (Acts 2:  42).

This was about choosing to live beside others as brothers and sisters, fully invested in their lives and wellbeing. Life in Christ is not just about good giving. It’s about building long-term relationships that care for  people.

At UnitingWorld, all our project managers have solid relationships with the project managers they work with in Vanuatu, South Sudan, North India, Fiji or West Papua, and through them, the communities with  whom they work. When cyclones hit, we get emails letting us know how people are coping, and we pray by name for families.

Can I encourage you to think about your gift this year as an opportunity to invest in a life?

These are gifts that represent a relationship, part of what it means to be God’s community. While $10 might provide chickens for a family in Zimbabwe or help seed peace in South Sudan, the gift is symbolic of  much more. $50 could start a woman on a journey to leadership in the church in the Pacific – a journey you could support from start to finish through prayer and by visiting communities in Fiji who’ll benefit from her leadership.

Our identity as followers of Jesus is about more than a quick and emotional gift to ‘the poor’. It’s about being part of long-term relationships that allow every person to live life to the full.

Explore the range of gifts from the Everything in Common catalogue at https://everythingincommon.com.au.

Cath Taylor

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