James and Tash Fletcher told a great story at last week’s staff meeting at The Belfrey. They both work half-time so they can volunteer the rest of their time to work with us. We’re grateful! This means that their finances are often very tight, as you can imagine.

When it came to The Belfrey’s recent Gift Day they’d prayed about how much to give and gave obediently. But when they got to the end of the month they didn’t have enough money to pay their other bills. So they prayed and asked the Lord to provide, especially as they’d felt guided to give a specific amount to the Gift Day. It came to the day of paying the bills and they had no idea where the money was going to come from. As Tash thought about it during the day at work she remembered that she might be owed a bonus from an old job she’d left some months ago and so she prayed that God would provide – perhaps even from that old job. When she got home there was some post from her previous employer – yes, containing a cheque that perfectly covered the bills they had to pay! They were so excited as they told us, and we gave a big cheer to the God who promises to provide for all our needs!!!

That story reminds me that disciples are called to prioritise giving. Generous giving. Giving to the work of God is supposed to be our first priority, not our last. If we only give money that’s ‘spare’ most of us would never give – or we’d just give loose change that we don’t really notice. That’s not generous giving. Unfortunately that’s what many disciples do.

Instead Jesus calls us to exercise faith when we give money. He calls us to prayerfully give on a regular and one-off basis – stepping out in trust and getting behind things he has asked us to be involved with. If we give generously from God’s rich provision to us, not only will the recipient benefit, but we will too (Luke 6:38) because God will look after us – as he did James and Tash – and cause us to trust him more so we can give again. Such is the wonderful economy of the kingdom of God.

It you’ve never done this, or are reticent and worry about not having enough, the best way to begin is simply to make a start. Pray and then give something away to your local church. Start with something. It’s not so much the amount, but the heart behind it. Be generous! (2 Cor 9:17).

I believe there’s a fresh call upon disciples in the North of England to experience the economy of God’s kingdom. But the only way to experience it is to invest into it.

Jesus said, ‘freely you have received; freely give’ (Matthew 10:8).