Amongst the many things my Dad has taught me over the years is a Yorkshire saying - "Ne'er do owt fer nowt, and if tha does owt fer nowt, make sure tha do it for tha sen." (Never do something for nothing, and if you do do something for nothing, make sure you're doing it for yourself.)
I'm just listening to the song Good Good Father and reflecting on how opposite to that our God is. We are called to be selfless, rather than selfish, generous instead of greedy. Luke 6:35 says, “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.” In other words, do stuff for nowt. (More on this, no doubt, as we get further into Luke.)
And I'm thinking about how incredible it is to constantly have a parent right there with us, imparting the ultimate wisdom by the spirit. Even when we're not the best version of ourselves for myriad reasons, he doesn't leave us. In fact he often presses in harder, knowing we need more guidance, more parenting. I'm reminded of Jonah running away from God, but God pursuing him, not giving up on him fulfilling the plan God had for him. I think of all the ways God protected the Israelites, caring for them, providing, teaching them, leading them out of the wilderness despite their sin. I read again about how God gave Naomi the devoted daughter-in-law, Ruth. He never stops giving, when we are all too ready to stop.
This weekend we remember our fathers, but it’s also a time to thank God for his example as the ultimate parent. Are we capable of following our kids and other young people in our lives, no matter what they do and how far they go? Do we lean on him when we feel weary and weak? Do we allow ourselves to be parented, even when we are now the parental figures to others?
I love this part of Psalm 23 –
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[a] I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
It reminds me of how we tell others to hydrate, we give them directions when they are lost. If they are going somewhere unsafe, we go with them. And at the same time, God is looking after us, refreshing us, following us, all the days of our lives. Truly, a good, good father.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week and how has this helped you / affected your life?
3. STUDY AND PRAY TOGETHER
Firstly, let’s watch this message from Jim partridges together:
Please read 2 Corinthians 8:1-9 again.
What particularly struck you from Jim's message?
What 2 relationships are we urged to give ourselves to and how is this being worked out in our lives and church?
SIV - How does working with New Ground help us to fufill The Great Commission?
SIV - How could you serve, invest and invite this week and let’s pray about this.
Prayer - How would you like prayer as a result of today’s study?