Leaving a corner…..
So today I’m trying to put across some of what Rob Bell conveys so eloquently and creatively in his NOOMA DVD ‘Corner’. If you get a chance somehow, watch it. I have it if you want to borrow it. Or try this link – ‘Corner’.
It’s all about God’s command to His people way back in Deuteronomy to leave something for the poor among them. When they are harvesting or picking grapes and miss some on the first pass, they are not to go back for a second pass to get everything. They are to leave that edge or corner or bunch for the person who really needs it.
(which reminds me of a conversation between a friend and her little boy on Facebook yesterday – ‘Got Jason crying cos he’s just been to the shop with a five pound note and lost it!!! Bless…….we went back but not there, I said to him just put it down to God giving it to someone who really needs it and he said like someone with no money for their tea and I said yes, I hope so xxx’)
But that’s not fair, I hear you cry! I earned that. This is how I make my living. This is mine. I did all the work. Why should I have to share?
God knows it’s not fair. But that’s not the point. God’s grace is never fair – that is the point. Grace is freely given without being deserved.
God reminds the people how He rescued them from slavery in Egypt – how He heard them and delivered them and brought them into freedom….not because they deserved it, but because of His immense love and grace. That is why they should be generous. That is why they should share. So that they do not forget where they have come from.
Because it’s so easy to forget, isn’t it? To settle down and get used to all that we have and take everything for granted.
Rob Bell talks about how when he was first married, he and his wife didn’t have a lot. They used to save up every month to go out for one meal a month – and that meal in a restaurant was always the best meal ever. They would savour every mouthful. Now going out doesn’t feel that special any more because they can do it whenever they want. When we don’t have much, we are so grateful for the small blessings. When we have it all, we lose something along the way. We forget that all that we have is a gift. We forget how to savour. We forget how to be grateful.
Anyone who’s visited communities in the developing world will understand something of this. When I went to Malawi, I was challenged by the attitude of the wonderful people I met. They had a joy and contentment that passed understanding. They had so little in material terms and yet so much more gratitude and positivity than I had ever encountered before. Like so many before me, I went expecting to give them something and came back with so much more than I could ever give.
So being generous and sharing is as good for the giver as the receiver – maybe even more so. It connects us with our own story of grace and rescue and provision and protection. It reminds us that all that we have is a gift, a gift to appreciate and share. When we find a way to leave a corner and extend grace to someone else, whatever that looks like, we discover so much more about the grace that God has extended to us. When we spread what we have around, we are saved. We are saved from indifference and selfishness and pride and inertia and taking what we have for granted.
This is not a duty. This is the best way to live.
This is not a burden. This is living life to the full.
This is not misery. This is joy.
What was the last thing you were really grateful for?
Was there a time when you expected to give, but ended up receiving?
How is grace unfair?
What is you corner and who can you give it to?
Redemption isn’t fair.
Liberation isn’t fair.
And may you extend this unfairness to others,
finding out that your overflow is someone else’s necessity.
May you find somebody who needs what you have,
only to discover that they had what you needed all along. Rob Bell, Corner