Gifts

From the Dean

A regular article written by Phillip Jensen in his role as Dean of Sydney at St Andrew's Cathedral.

Originally Published:
6th July 2003

Tagged: church gifts

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God is not stingy.  Generosity is one of His characteristics.  The Bible talks of this generosity as “grace”.  His graciousness is His generous nature.

His generosity is seen in creation and life itself - all the good things that He gives to us.  But the greatest act of His generosity towards us is the death of His own son on our behalf. 

Closely connected to His generosity is His mercy and forgiveness.  For to treat people not as they deserve but in mercy to forgive them is grace and generosity itself.  Especially when our sin is against God and our forgiveness is paid for by Him in the atoning work of His son.

However God’s generosity is not exhausted with the death of His son for our forgiveness and pardon.  When God raised Christ up to sit at His right hand in all power and authority, He gave to His son the promised Spirit to pour out on all flesh.

So through Christ, God gave His Spirit to regenerate us bringing us to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus.  This rebirth was necessary to enter His kingdom and yet it is beyond us all.  God in His generosity has given such rebirth through the resurrection of His son.

Yet even that is not all.  God’s amazing generosity goes on and on.  For accompanying the arrival of the Spirit of the ascended Christ are the gifts of God for His people.  The apostles prophets evangelists pastors and teachers were given to equip God’s people for the work of building the Church.  The Church was built by Christ through the gifts that He gave to His people.

Still today God is generously giving to His people the gifts we need to undertake the task of building the church.  Here in the Cathedral congregations we have people of extraordinary giftedness thanks to the generosity of God. 

Our abilities are not self generated accomplishments but God’s generous gifts given to us all.  We should give thanks to God for his generosity towards us.  We should thank God for the gift of each other and the gifts that He has given to each other of us.

Each of us receives some gift to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We all receive the benefit of each other’s gifts for they are to be used for the common good of building the church.  God does not give us gifts for private hoarding or enjoyment but that we may use them generously for the benefit of each other and of us all.   

We must order our common life that we gain the full benefit of the varied gifts that God has so generously bestowed on our Cathedral congregations.  We must also look for opportunities to use our gifts not for own good or reputation but for the benefit of others.  This other person centredness is what the Bible means by “love” - and that is not another story just a continuation of the story of God’s amazing grace and generosity.