By Lyn TenBrink
“Never again will I curse the ground because of human beings, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood…. “ Genesis 8:21-22
“I will bring you out of from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you…” Exodus 6:6
“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:15
Some of us grew up with a Bible that had all God’s promises highlighted. I remember as a kid thinking it sooo great that God made those promises and He kept them. So unlike anything I usually experienced in life with people.
As I grew older and tried to mimic keeping my promises…I simply failed miserably, and it became a vicious cycle of disappointment.
But something changed in me as I developed friendships with people different than me, especially in I began to see God’s intent in those promises as a covenant with humanity but also as extreme generosity! He is God; He did not and does not need to make any promises to us! But He did and does because of His extravagant love. He proves He knows our needs and hears the cries of our heart by stepping in and lavishing His generosity of Spirit ALL OVER US!!!!! Everyday, Every hour, Every moment!!!
His generosity gets even more personal through his Son:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you…do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to us all. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” I Corinthians 10:13
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:11
God generously offers us peace, the gift of being known, faithfulness, presence, grace… the list could go on and on and on. Often we struggle to mimic God’s example of fulfilling promises, but His generosity is something we can grasp. Since I have been involved with Capernaum, I feel like I have been taking a crash course directly from God on generosity.
My Capernaum friends extend generosity like no one else. I am not talking about a transactional give and take, I am talking transformational inside out.
My Capernaum friends generously:
- Repeat the same word 5 times as I struggle to understand.
- Suffer sore muscles because I lift them out of their chair incorrectly.
- Endure noises they hate and that agitate them just to be a part of a worship experience.
- Let me put words on how they feel instead of me actually asking them.
- Come to a club I planned instead of me asking them for their input.
- Quietly accept society’s lie that their worth is in what they do.
This list could go on and on. Our friends with disability have so much to teach us about the generosity of Jesus’ lavish love! The last few years of my life I have only ingested a mite of it. But every once in a while I imagine how different my life, my church, my friendships, my community would be if the generosity my friends show us was shown back to them? How different would this world look if we truly let the generosity of Christ’s love lavish over it?
Jesus’ time on earth was the result of a generous God’s love overflowing onto this earth. Jesus then generously stepped into the lives of everyone He came in contact with and then generously lavished God’s love all over them.
What if we read scripture through the eyes of God’s generosity? What if we met people like our Capernaum friends and dared to imagine all the ways they were generous with us in life, spirit, mind and soul?