Pick up your spade and dig!

George talks about self-giving love and the people who emulate it

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2011 celebrates 400 years of the King James translation of the Bible. It took a man named King James I a great deal of courage to make the Word of God available to the man on the street and specifically to the most vulnerable: those who couldn’t read and write.

The Bible is a book that contributed more to the English language than any other book. There are so many verses that brought so much depth. Just one of them is 1 Corinthians 13:1

Tough I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

In today’s language, ‘charity’, has lost its original meaning.

Recently, I was in Zimbabwe where the word charity became very real to me. I met with Agnes, a blind grandmother whom had looked after 16 orphans in one room. With one bed. I spent a Sat afternoon with Agnes, just sitting on the bare floor with her. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the love and the joy shining out of Agnes. Agnes had only two things to say to me: The first was thanking me for what Hands at Work had done for her grandchildren, the orphans. The second was a request, to me, to make sure that there would be enough food for the children this year.

As I prayed over Agnes, I had the distinct feeling that she would be able to see again, very soon. And I shared this with her. Agnes died about three hours later. She saw. I realised that Agnes may have been blind, but she could see better than any other: She could see the King and she could see real life. And life to her was self-giving love.

Our Watchword for 2011 is from Ephesians 1: "It's in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for." There is no cheap way, no easy road to finding out who we are and what we are living for. We know the message: it is about dying to self and living for others. This year we trust that, through people like Agnes, God will help us to know what it means to live for one another.

This year we want to dig deep. Dig deep in the children that we care for. Dig deep in our relationships with each other. Dig deep in our relationships with our partners who so generously support us. Dig deep in our relationship with Christ.

Pick up your spade! Let's dig deep in 2011.